How Can I Protect a Loved One With Special Needs in My Estate Plan?

estate plan with pencil

When you have a loved one with special needs, you have to do everything that you can to make sure that they are well cared for after you pass on. A Monmouth County estate planning attorney can assist you by helping you set up a special needs trust that can protect their interests.

What Can a Special Needs Trust Pay For?

A special needs trust can pay for many different things, but it is usually recommended to let the benefits your loved one can apply for pay some costs. This is one of the chief advantages of a special needs trust after all. You can leave some assets behind, but your relative can still make use of benefits like Medicaid and supplemental security income, or SSI.

Those benefits can pay for things like healthcare costs, utility bills, and groceries. The money from the trust you establish can help your loved one live a fuller life by paying for expenses relating to:

  • Education
  • Sports and hobbies
  • Travel
  • Any other expense not covered by benefits

Your loved one can still do and experience so many things. They do not need to scrape by and only have the absolute necessities accounted for.

Who Should I Make the Trustee?

When you establish a trust, you can pick a trustee. This is someone who is responsible for managing the assets and ensuring that your loved one can get the resources that they need. Some people choose a family member, but others choose someone who can be considered neutral. An attorney is often a good choice.

Managing a trust can also be a good amount of work. A trustee needs to be organized and they need to take their responsibilities seriously. If you have a family member who is a good fit, that is great, but you can see why a professional like a lawyer, financial advisor, or accountant can also be a good choice.

What Else Can I Do When I Plan a Special Needs Trust?

If your loved one is under the age of 18, you can also choose a guardian for them. This can be the same person as the trustee if you choose a family member. It can also be someone else. If you do not select a guardian, a court could appoint one after you pass away.

We also recommend leaving behind a letter of intent. This can tell your loved ones how you want this trust used and let them know more about the beneficiary and their needs. This might be able to help guardians and trustees make better decisions.

Plan Your Estate with an Experienced Attorney

Establishing a trust and figuring out what you want to leave behind can be hard work, so let our experienced estate planning lawyers assist you. Contact the Law Offices of George J. Mardinly and schedule a consultation today.