When your child has a disability, you may have different estate planning concerns than your colleagues or peers. You may need to figure out how to support your son or daughter once you are no longer around to provide care. You may also have concerns about whether the estate planning steps you take may make your child ineligible for critical government benefits.

Per Forbes, many people facing similar circumstances begin researching special needs trusts. What are special needs trusts, and how do they benefit children who have disabilities?

Understanding the special needs trust

A special needs trust is an estate planning tool that lets you leave your child funds for medical care, travel, entertainment or other expenses once you are unable to allocate them yourself. Then, one or more trustees oversee the distribution of the assets inside the special needs trust. Many people choose to name family members or independent professionals as their trustees.

Important benefits

Many individuals with disabilities use certain types of government assistance, such as Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income. Your child’s continued eligibility for these benefits depends on his or her level of need, so leaving too much to your child in a traditional will may make impact continued benefits eligibility.

By entering assets into a special needs trust, though, you make it so those assets do not factor in when the government assesses your child’s financial need. When you place assets into this type of trust, you may also protect them against creditors and potential seizure. Find more about special needs trusts on our webpage.