When you have a loved one with special needs, you want to make sure that they’re taken care of in every instance – especially after you’ve passed away or if you can no longer care for them by yourself. That’s why creating a special needs trust is so important when it comes to keeping a continuity of care and making sure your loved one can receive all the benefits available to them from state and local agencies. Here are three things you need to know about special needs trusts and how they’ll help provide for your loved one with special needs.
Creating the Trust
The first thing you should do when setting up a special needs trust is to contact an experienced lawyer, often times an estate and elder law attorney, to make sure the trust is valid and covers all your loved one’s needs. The last thing you want to do is spend money to create a trust that you think will provide protection for your loved one, then have it deemed invalid after you pass away. This may leave your loved one in a desperate situation without any means to receive the care they need. The most important function the trust serves is to keep assets and property for the benefit of your loved one with special needs without actually transferring ownership to your loved one, which will disqualify them from needs-based benefits.
Funding the Trust
In order for a special needs trust to take effect, it needs to be funded with assets or property. This can happen immediately, or the trust can be funded by a Last Will and Testament at the time of your death. An experienced California special needs attorney can review these options with you and help you determine which works best for your situation. The assets and property held within the trust are used to pay for items that are not typically covered by government benefits, which means that your loved one can enjoy their lives.
Administering the Trust
The person who administers the special needs trust is the Trustee – this person is tasked with making sure the terms of the trust are followed and your loved one receives everything they need from the trust. While you would often serve as Trustee for your loved one, a Successor Trustee would have to be named if you become incapacitated or pass away. Administering a special needs trust can be difficult since there are so many rules that need to be followed, so consulting with an experienced Encino special needs attorney to determine how to choose a Successor Trustee is advised.
If you would like to get more information about setting up a special needs trust for your loved one with disabilities, or if you’d like to have your current special needs trust reviewed to make sure it provides adequate protection for your loved one, please set up an appointment at our San Fernando Valley office by calling (818) 905-6088.