I want to preface this article by stating that estate planning is not something that people like to talk about. No one likes to think about their own death let alone plan for what happens after they die. In my opinion, one of the kindest things that you can do for your family before your death is to make sure that all your affairs are in order. We are going to assume that your family is upset about your passing and the last thing they want to do is sit through endless court sessions while people who don’t know you divide your possessions and assets. And this becomes even more complicated if you have disabled or special needs children.
What Is A Special Needs Trust?
While you are estate planning for your family in the event of your death or in the event that you become incapacitated, you can create something called a special needs trust. A special needs trust lets you put aside a certain amount of money that will be used to take care of your special needs child. This trust is exempt from supplemental social security income and Medicaid benefits because it’s technically not your child’s money – it’s yours.
If you do not trust your child to make financial decisions then you can also outline who is the trustee. The trustee will be in charge of managing the special needs trust and utilizing the money to help take care of your special needs child.
What Is The Money Used For?
The money that you put into the special needs trust covers things like medical expenses that are not covered by Medicaid or SSI. And can be used for other essentials such as food, clothing, and shelter. It can even be used for recreational activities as long as the trustee feels that it will help the beneficiary (your special needs child).
What Else Can I Do?
The special needs trust allows you to write a letter of intent. In this letter of intent, you can write whatever notes you wish to the trustee to explain how you feel the money sh0uld be used or to give them advice. For example, if you know that your autistic child hates wearing socks, you can mention that in your letter of intent.
As I expressed before, this is something that no one likes to talk about and no one wants to deal with. But don’t let your death be a burden on your family. Make decisions now so after your gone everyone can be in peace.