We help you protect a loved one with special needs.

Example:  Jack and Jill have one child, a son with special needs. They want to make sure he is protected when they pass away. What can they do?

Like all parents of minors, Jack and Jill should have a provision in their will nominating someone they trust to serve as their son’s guardian. Since their son has special needs, they may also want to consider writing a trust for his benefit, even if they do not currently have much money.

Many people, especially those with lifelong disabilities, qualify for special benefits through one or more government programs. If those benefits are needs-based, then the receipt of a gift or an inheritance could disqualify their son from his benefits.

The law, however, protects the benefits as long as the gift or inheritance is in a type of trust called a supplemental needs trust, often called a special needs trust. This is because the payments from such trusts are meant only to supplement, not replace, any benefits the child may be receiving. There are strict rules on who can set them up and how they are to be administered.

Do I need a trust?

If Jack and Jill’s son is not expected to receive any government benefits, they may still want to establish a trust for him. This can be done while they are alive in a living trust or in their wills in what is called a testamentary trust. Even if such trusts don’t protect eligibility for government assistance, they can protect their son’s money and ensure that a capable person will handle that money for him.

We can help families decide whether they can or should establish a special needs trust for their loved one and, if so, which sort of trust they should use.