An Overview of Special Needs Estate Planning
There are several types of trusts to assist with these special planning challenges. The most common types are Support Trusts and Special Needs Trusts.
Support Trusts: Support Trusts require the Trustee to make distributions for the child's support in areas like food, shelter, clothing, medical care, and educational services. Beneficiaries of Support Trusts are not eligible to receive financial assistance through Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid. If your child will require SSI or Medicaid, you should avoid a Support Trust.
Special Needs Trusts: For many parents, a Special Needs Trust is the most effective way to help their child with a disability. A Special Needs Trust manages resources while also maintaining the child's eligibility for public assistance benefits.
There are two types of Special Needs Trusts:
Third-Party Special Needs Trust: Created using the assets of the parent(s) as part of an estate plan; distributed by a Will or Living Trust.
Self-Settled Special Needs Trust: Generally created by a parent, grandparent or legal guardian using the child's assets to fund the Trust (e.g., when the child receives a settlement from a personal injury lawsuit and will require lifelong care). If assets remain in the Trust after the child’s death, a payback to the state is required, but only to the extent the child receives public assistance benefits.
Special Needs Trusts are a critical component of your estate planning if you have loved ones with disabilities for whom you wish to provide after your passing. Generally, Special Needs Trusts are either stand-alone trusts funded with separate assets (like life insurance) or they can be sub-trusts in existing living trusts.
Special Needs Estate Planning Online Resource Center
Planning for your loved one with special needs requires extensive research to become a well-educated advocate. You will want to keep up-to-date on the latest medical, educational, financial, and legal changes. Nickerson Law Group provides assistance to you and your family in addressing your unique concerns. We hope this Special Needs Resource Center provides you with a quick reference to find the additional resources you may need.
- Special Needs Forum
A resource for families who have a loved one with special needs
When you go to sleep at night, are you sleeping peacefully, knowing that if something happens to you, your family will be taken care of? What words describe how you feel about your family’s future?
For many families who have a loved one with special needs, their answers include: worried, concerned, and overwhelmed. What if you could gain the knowledge and implement a plan for your family and loved one with special needs that would make you feel calm, reassured, and secure?
The resources found at the Special Needs Forum help educate and guide you in preparing that plan.
Calculating Your Loved One's Future Financial Needs
This calculator can help you project the future expenses of an individual with special needs.