Whether there is potential that you will become disabled later, or you have a special needs child or spouse, it is important to make plans for taking care of these needs. There are a number of tools to choose from in special needs planning, and your Bryan estate planning attorney will help you select which is best for your purposes.
It is not uncommon for families to have a member who has special needs, ranging from Down syndrome to autism and orthopedic disabilities. As parents age, concern increases for how their special needs child will be cared for after they die. Unfortunately, for those without financial means, the answer might be a state-operated facility. However, with planning, you can help provide for your child, spouse or other loved one.
Special Needs Tools
There is a considerably large number of those who have special needs. There were an estimated 224,594 children with autism in 2006. That same year, 24.9 million adult Americans suffered serious and debilitating psychological problems. About 5% of the adult population is bipolar. Over 20 million people age 12 and over suffer substance abuse at any given time. It is clearly important to establish a way of caring for loved ones with special needs. The following are two of the more commonly used tools for this purpose:
• Support Trusts: In a support trust, a designated trustee distributes money from the trust to be used for the life care of the special needs individual. Food, shelter, medical care, education and clothing are among those provisions that this trust supports. It is important to note that an individual receiving help from a support trust loses eligibility for Supplementary Security Income and Medicaid.
• Special Needs Trusts: A special needs trust may be either a Third Party Trust or Self-Settled Special Needs Trust. With a Third Party Trust the assets are a part of the estate and are distributed in accordance with a will or Living Trust. With the Self-Settled Trust a child’s assets are used to fund the trust. This works for situations where a child has received compensation for a personal injury accident. If there are assets in the trust after the special needs individual dies, the remaining funds are deemed to the state.
If You Have Questions or Need Assistance