Because every family and their situation is unique, no two estate plans are the same. When families begin to create their estate plan with the help of an attorney, they will take their situation and family dynamics into account when deciding what to include in the plan. So for families with a special needs child, there are extra factors that should be considered in the formation of an estate plan. It can often be difficult for parents to think about the future—when they will not be around to take care of their child—but by creating an estate plan and taking some of the below recommendations, the special needs child’s future will be better secured.
How Does Having a Special Needs Child Impact Estate Planning?
One of the primary purposes of estate planning is to ensure loved ones are taken care of after a person passes away. Therefore, people will often give their financial assets and property to loved ones so they can use them in the future.
However, for parents with special needs children, they still want to make sure the child is looked after, but they may not want to directly give them money that they can use without limitation. Or, if the child is receiving public assistance, acquiring such assets may jeopardize their ability to receive the benefits in the future—as an individual cannot own over a certain amount before they become ineligible for these benefits. Because of this, estate planning attorneys advise individuals to create a special needs trust for their special needs loved ones rather than leaving them assets or benefits outright.
What Is a Special Needs Trust and Why Should I Create One?
A special needs trust is a special type of trust that allows loved ones to leave money for their special needs child without jeopardizing their availability for public benefits, such as Medicaid and SSI benefits. The parents create the special needs trust and funds the trust—they can put as much money into the trust as they want. Once the trust is created, it is irrevocable, and they must name a trustee to manage the trust. The trustee cannot be the special needs child, but someone else who oversees the disbursement of the trust’s funds. Once the parents have passed away, the trustee will give the special needs individual the funds from the trust to use to supplement their government benefits.
Because creating a special needs trust is a complex—and very important—process, individuals beginning the estate planning process should contact an experienced attorney who can help.
Creating a Houston Estate Plan for Your Special Needs Child
If you have a child with special needs and need to create an estate plan, contact the trusted attorneys at McCulloch & Miller, PLLC. Our Houston special needs planning attorneys have decades of experience drafting estate plans for a diverse set of clients. We can create a special needs trust that will ensure your child’s future is secured after you have passed away. To learn more and to schedule a free consultation, give us a call today at 713-333-8900.