If you have a child with special needs, you may worry about what will happen to him or her after you are gone. Your child may not be able to support him or herself and you may not want to put the burden on another relative. One of the best things you can do for your child right now is set up a special needs trust. The trust will allow your child to receive financial support without affecting the government benefits they receive. A special needs trust can pay for expenses that are not already covered by government benefits.
Here are some tips for establishing a special needs trust.
Before you see a special needs lawyer about setting up a trust for your child, you should first determine what your wishes are. For example, you may want to figure out how much money your child will need and how frequently you want him or her to receive the money. You may also decide how you want the money used and what will happen to the remaining funds once he or she dies. Write these wishes down in a notebook and share them with your lawyer during your first meeting.
A trustee is the person who will manage the funds in your child’s trust. It is a huge responsibility to be a trustee, so you should appoint someone you completely trust and know is capable of performing the job. It is common for people to choose a trusted relative to serve as the trustee. However, if you can’t find a relative to fulfill the role, you may consider hiring a bank to serve as trustee. You may also want to select alternate trustees if the first trustee can’t fulfill the role anymore.
Like with other estate planning documents, it is possible to set up a special needs trust on your own. However, it may be in your interest to hire a lawyer who specializes in special needs trust. As the legal professionals at Silverman Law Office, PLLC can confirm, the wording in a special needs trust has to be especially clear. If you make even one error, the trust may not do what you intended it to. An experienced lawyer will help you create a valid special needs trust that clearly states your wishes for your child.
Once you have created a special needs trust, it is time to fund it. You can fund the trust with investments, cash or life insurance policies. If you want your child to receive property after you die, you can include it in the trust. Believe it or not, some people forget this step. If you establish a special needs trust and forget to fund it, the trust will be considered invalid.
If your child has recently received a personal injury settlement, you may want to include it in the special needs trust.
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