Use a special needs trust when appointing a grandparent as guardian

By December 30, 2010Uncategorized

Parenting a child with special needs may involve caring for the child for his or her entire life.  This, of course, is a big responsibility; but one that brings with it many joys and rewards that most people do not experience.  Nevertheless, of special concern to these parents is how that child will be provided for when they are gone.  This is particularly true for single parents of children with special needs, as they do not have the safety net of a second parent.

Single parents of special needs children most times plan for the future the best way they know how.  This often involves creating a will, in which they appoint somebody to care for their child with special needs after they are gone.  And, many times, they appoint their parent to assume this large responsibility.  This may seem like a logical choice when they create the will, as they have confidence that their parent is best suited to provide for their grandchild with special needs.  But, what happens when time passes and the parent begins to get up there in years?  Is it still best that an aging parent be charged with the responsibility of caring for a child with special needs?

A special needs trust is one planning tool that can help with this situation.  As you know, a special needs trust allows individuals with special needs to receive an inheritance without risking ineligibility for public benefits, such as SSI or Medicaid, upon which they rely.  So, rather than leaving an inheritance to a parent so that parent can use the funds for the child with special needs, establishing a special needs trust in the child’s name may ensure that the child receives supplementary funds without jeopardizing his or her public benefits.  The child’s grandparent can still be appointed as caregiver for the child, if that seems to work, but the special needs trust ensures that the funds go to the child regardless of how the caregiver situation works out.  This way, parents can at least know that their child will have the wherewithal to receive the care he or she needs whatever the situation.