Creating A Special Needs Trust For Your Child

Ensuring that your child with special needs is cared for after you've passed away is important. It's advisable to make estate plans to address their needs. Doing so will not only take care of your child but will also provide you and other family members with peace of mind. Read on for more information about creating a special needs trust.

What Is a Trust?

Trusts are a flexible estate solution that can be easily customized to fit any need. You can have a general trust and also trusts that cover particular issues such as caring for a child with special needs after you die. A trust is similar to a will, but more can be done with it. With a will, for example, you can leave money to a loved one so that they can care for your child.  With a special needs trust, though, you can leave money to a person, name a backup person, and specify how you wish your child to be cared for.

Trusts are funded prior to your death with enough money to carry out your wishes. You will also appoint a trustee to oversee the trust. The trustee is similar to an executor or personal representative for a will. They will ensure that the funds are provided to the appointed caregiver according to your wishes.

Address These Special Needs Issues

Appoint a caregiver — Speak to your estate attorney about choosing a person to care for your child. Know that in some states, you must make a provision in your will appointing a guardian for your child for things to be legal.

Designate how the funds are to be used — You may be as detailed as you wish with this area of the trust. Take the time to identify the costs associated with the care of your child so that you can cover all the bases. For example, if your child needs frequent medical visits in a city some distance away, ensure you leave the caregiver the funds to travel to the appointment.

Daily care — You can leave the caregiver detailed instructions on what they are expected to do for your child and when. For example, if your child likes to eat certain foods for breakfast, make sure that is known.

Salary — Not all caregivers are paid for their services, particularly family members. However, you may decide to pay the caregiver for their time if you can afford it and you want to do so.

Education — If your child attends school, ensure that they continue if that is your wish by mentioning it in the trust.

Spending money — Depending on your child, you can also provide them with an allowance or spending money so they have money of their own.

Contact an estate attorney for more information.