Being the parent of a disabled child is a challenging situation in which to find yourself. If you are the parent of a disabled child, one of the most pressing issues you may be facing is how to protect your child’s wellbeing when you are no longer around to care for him or her directly. Estate planning is important for any parent; however, it is especially crucial when your child has a mental or physical disability. A special needs trust is an estate planning tool that can help you ensure that your assets are used for your child’s benefit after your death.
A Last Will and Testament May be Insufficient
If you are like most people, you probably assume that you can simply leave your child funds and property through your will. A last will and testament is a great way to ensure that important family heirlooms are passed to the intended beneficiaries and formalize your last wishes. However, a will alone may be insufficient in some situations. Leaving a lump sum inheritance to heirs is not always the best option. Furthermore, wills must pass through “probate” or the process of legally validating the will before assets can be distributed to heirs. Lastly, a disabled child who receives an inheritance through a will may be ineligible for certain government assistance programs.
How a Special Needs Trust Can Benefit You and Your Child
A special needs trust is a trust used to transfer assets for the benefit of a disabled person. If your child has an intellectual disability or physical handicap that impairs his or her ability to be financially self-supporting, a special needs trust may be right for you.
When you set up a special needs trust, you allocate funds to be used for your child’s benefit once you have passed away. A trustee manages these funds and distributes them according to the directions contained in the trust. Many people designate a family member or friend to act as the trustee. The trustee is responsible for ensuring that the funds contained in the trust are used for your child’s benefit. Most importantly, funds contained in a trust do not affect a disabled person’s eligibility for government assistance. Your child could still receive social security disability or other government aid in addition to the financial support provided by the trust.
Contact a Wheaton Estate Planning Lawyer
A special needs trust is an estate planning instrument that allows you to transfer property to a disabled person without jeopardizing that person’s ability to receive government benefits. To learn more, contact a DuPage County estate planning attorney at NN Legal Group today. Call our office at 630-474-0925 for a free consultation.