How a Special Needs Trust Will Help You
Hi, I'm Jordan Flake with Clear Counsel Law Group. I do a lot of estate planning in my practice and one question that I see from clients is what do I do about my son or daughter who has special needs? When we think about a special needs beneficiary, we're thinking about somebody who maybe is receiving government assistance or who can't live on their own or maybe has some kind of incompetency that prevent them from being able to handle all of their own affairs. Often times, these individuals are receiving government assistance that we don't want to disrupt. That's the really big concern. If you leave your child maybe $100,000 under a life insurance policy, that money will just land in their lap and could threaten their ability to continue to receive government assistance or government benefits.
You don't want to just list your special needs child on a bank account or list them in a life insurance policy because you might actually end up harming them to the extent that that gift would limit their ability to receive financial assistance from the government. What you may wish to consider instead is doing what's called a special needs trust. The essence of a special needs trust is that the money, all the money set aside for the special needs child will go for their use, benefit, and enjoyment. However, all that money will go to them in a way that will not prevent them from receiving government assistance. It can go to them, but just not in an outright, direct kind of way that would prevent them from receiving government assistance.
So if you do know of anybody who has special needs and their parents or their loved ones are trying to set up a trust for their benefit, it's absolutely necessary that you come see an attorney so that that special needs trust is set up properly so that it doesn't end up hurting the special needs individual in the long run. Feel free to meet with us at Clear Counsel Law Group and we'll do a free consultation and we'll discuss your different options for dealing with giving gifts to special needs individuals.