Do you have a child or a grandchild with a physical or mental disability? If you are like other Florida parents and grandparents in this situation, you may be wondering what you can do to help provide for the long-term care of your loved one. The thought of simply listing the disabled person as an heir in your will may seem easy and tempting, but it should be resisted. Instead, developing a special needs trust is recommended according to CNBC.
The primary reason that you should be careful about how you allot funds to someone with special needs is because that person’s ability to qualify for other aid and services may be negatively impacted if they all of a sudden have a bunch of money. People with autism, cerebral palsy or other physical disabilities may often qualify for Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid. One of the ways that they qualify for these things is by having a limited income or set of assets.
If you go and leave a lump sum of money to a child, that may eliminate his or her ability to receive specific services. When money is put into a special needs trust, it is not counted as your child’s or grandchild’s assets. To even further protect your child, you should specify that any money in the trust should only be used once any assistance by SSI or Medicaid has been provided.
To learn more about special needs trusts, please visit the estate planning for children page on our Florida probate and estate planning website.