Establishing a special needs trust: One of many tips for parents of a special needs child

By October 28, 2010Uncategorized

Fairly recently, CNN ran an article on titled Planning for the care of a special-needs child.  Among other things, the story highlighted how quickly and dramatically life can change when a special needs child is born to a couple.  While parents of special needs children experience joys just like any other parent, they also experience challenges and obstacles unique to their situation.  In addition to seeking out the best possible course for their child’s care and education, they may also be presented with unexpected financial obligations.

The CNN article, for instance, described a young family with a relatively high income that still had significant worries about providing everything their daughter with downs syndrome needed.  As most parents understand, expenses add up quickly even without a child, and budgeting can become difficult when you factor in everything that a child needs.  This issue is even more complicated when the child has special needs.

Parents with a special needs child don’t have to struggle financially.  In fact, there are certain strategies they can employ to help them set money aside for the future, and meet their present needs as well.  The first, and most obvious, recommendation is for parents of a special needs child to increase their savings.  These parents are more likely to encounter an emergency, in which case having reserve funds on hand would be instrumental.  In addition to having a savings account for emergency situations, parents may want to try and plan for three retirements.  Special needs children may be at least partially dependent on their parents for their entire life, which means parents should factor in the child’s expenses when planning for their golden years.

A third and final suggestion for parents of a special needs child is to establish a special needs trust.  Without a special needs trust, any inheritance that the parents leave to the child could jeopardize the child’s eligibility for benefits like SSI.  Parents know how important these benefits are to supporting a child with special needs, and the last thing they want to do is to inadvertently cause these benefits to cease.  As such, it is best for parents to plan ahead with a special needs trust attorney to establish a special needs trust in place early on.