Your estate plan can serve many purposes. For a person who has a loved one with special needs, the estate plan can help care for them when you aren’t around to take on this responsibility yourself. One option that you have to do this is a special needs trust. Your attorney can assist you with determining whether this is the best option for your wishes or not.
A special needs trust is an irrevocable trust that’s set up to cover specific expenses for the beneficiary. These are outlined in the trust’s documents and there must be specific wording that makes it clear what expenses the trust can’t be used to cover.
Clear, understandable goals are crucial
The goal of the special needs trust is to enable the beneficiary to continue to receive needs-based or asset-based services, including public assistance, while still being able to utilize the extra support from the trust. Since the beneficiary can’t directly access the trust’s assets, those assets don’t count toward their asset limit for programs like Medicaid.
A special needs trust also offers some protection from creditors. The creator’s creditors can’t lay a legal claim on the trust’s assets since this is an irrevocable trust. This can ensure that the beneficiary can reap the maximum benefit from the trust.
Remember that a special needs trust is only one facet of your estate plan that you need to think about. You also need to set up your will, powers of attorney and any other components that apply to your situation. You may even decide that you need to establish other trusts to pass assets to other members of your family.