Raising children can be a challenging endeavor. This is especially true when a child has special needs. Depending on the condition at hand, a child with special needs may require extensive medical care and social support. These needs can be long-term in nature, which is why these considerations need to be taken into account when engaging in estate planning.
There are a number of ways to provide for a child with special needs through an estate plan. If an individual has enough money to provide for the child's long-term care, then that significant amount of money can be placed in a trust with directions to make periodic payments to the child, who is named as the trust's beneficiary. However, doing so will likely disqualify a child from receiving government benefits.
This is why many individuals utilize a special needs trust. This trust seeks to provide a beneficiary with support without rendering him or her disqualified from receiving important government benefits. If handled correctly, this type of trust may allow government benefits to pay for living and day-to-day expenses, thereby freeing up the trust funds for other expenditures.
There are other options when addressing this matter. A trustee can be named with instructions to make asset dispersals in accordance with the child's needs.
As one can see, these matters can be highly complex. The good news is that options exist, and each can be tailored to fit a family's needs. Discussing these matters with a qualified legal professional is usually a good idea before proceeding, as doing so can ensure that an individual makes fully informed estate planning decisions that further the best interests of their loved ones and their estate.