Adulting Life Skills Resources Blog Post Special Needs Trust

Special Needs Trust

We’ve all encountered that “Uncle Jack” with the groundbreaking business idea that can’t fail. He claims it will revolutionize the world as we know it, but there’s just one slight hitch – he needs a mere $50,000 to get started. As we contemplate our futures, it’s not uncommon to imagine scenarios where we’re no longer around to dispel Uncle Jack’s entrepreneurial dreams.

While our hypothetical Uncle Jack might remain the stuff of family legends, the need to safeguard our loved ones’ financial futures is a genuine concern, particularly for those caring for children on the autism spectrum. This is where the concept of a third-party Special Needs Trust enters the picture, offering a robust financial safety net that can provide ongoing support and maintain their quality of life. 

The Noble Purpose of a Special Needs Trust
Third-party Special Needs Trusts are powerful financial instruments meticulously crafted to ensure that the long-term financial needs of a child or grandchild with intellectual disabilities are comprehensively addressed throughout their lifetime. A Special Needs Trust lets you specify precisely how and when the funds will be used.

Crafting the Trust: Why an Elder Law Attorney is Essential
Creating a Special Needs Trust is a significant endeavor that necessitates the expertise of an “Elder Attorney.” These professionals possess the legal acumen to draft a comprehensive trust document that leaves no room for ambiguity. This includes specifying how the trust funds will be invested and disbursed, thereby securing long-term financial support for your child.

Funding and Managing the Trust: An Array of Options
The beauty of a Special Needs Trust lies in its flexibility. It can include various financial assets, such as property, stocks, retirement funds, bonds, life insurance policies, and multiple investments. The trust itself can be managed by an individual or a professional entity, with the trust’s creator having the authority to determine who administers it. These funds can be used for various purposes, spanning education, recreation, assistive technology, counseling, and medical attention, ensuring a life enriched beyond the basic necessities.

Understanding the Types of Special Needs Trusts
Third-party Special Needs Trusts come in two primary forms: standalone and pooled. Standalone trusts are distinct legal entities established solely for the benefit of the individual with special needs. On the other hand, pooled trusts are managed by non-profit organizations and accommodate multiple beneficiaries. All assets are commingled in pooled trusts for investment purposes, while each beneficiary maintains a separate account. The choice between the two depends on individual circumstances and preferences.

The Crucial Role in Preserving Public Benefits
Perhaps one of the most critical aspects of a third-party Special Needs Trust is its ability to harmonize with public benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid. Without proper planning, an inheritance or substantial financial support could inadvertently disqualify the individual with special needs from these essential programs. By establishing a Special Needs Trust, you circumvent this risk, allowing your child to receive the necessary public benefits while still enjoying the supplementary support provided by the trust.

A Trust is not reserved for the wealthy elite to secure their heirs’ futures. It’s a powerful vehicle that ensures your child’s continued well-being and care when you are no longer around. It’s a testament to love and foresight, a legacy of care and security extending beyond your physical presence. In a world filled with uncertainties, a Special Needs Trust stands as a steadfast pillar of support, ensuring your child’s needs are met long after you’ve bid your farewells.