3 things you should know about a special needs trust

If you’re one of many parents in Illinois who cares for a child with mental or physical disabilities, there have no doubt been times in your life when you think ahead, and, perhaps, feel anxious or worried about meeting your child’s needs if something were to happen to you. Estate planning is a valuable tool to help you provide for your loved one.  

Especially regarding financial support, you can open a special needs trust, which is a unique type of estate planning document that helps those who are unable to manage their own finances due to mental or physical incapacitation. There are several key issues to keep in mind when instituting this type of trust.  

A special needs trust needs a trustee 

If you open a special needs trust to financially provide for your son or daughter after you die, you can choose a trustworthy family member as a trustee. This person has the task of overseeing and managing the trust. You can also ask the court to appoint a trustee if you do not have someone available in your family to fulfill the role.  

This type of trust can ensure that your child continues to receive benefits 

If you have a special needs trust in place, it can help ensure that your loved one continues to receive government benefits to which he or she is entitled. If you were to leave money to your loved one with special needs in a last will and testament, he or she could possibly become ineligible for certain Social Security Income benefits. However, if you fund a special needs trust, instead, it does not disqualify the beneficiary from receiving such benefits.  

The trustee can use assets to make purchases on behalf of the beneficiary 

The person acting as a trustee to your loved one’s special needs trust may act on his or her behalf to use monies in the trust to make needed purchases for his or her care. The trustee may purchase items or services, which may include things like furniture or a vehicle. Trust fund monies can also pay for medical expenses, education or other things as well.  

You must specifically state in writing that the trust you are opening is a special needs trust, as opposed to a basic trust fund. Sometimes, complications may arise concerning issues such as Medicaid. It’s helpful to speak with someone well-versed in Illinois estate planning laws before signing any type of trust to make sure that there is clear and detailed wording to help prevent legal problems. 


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