Do not expect an inheritance to do the job of a special needs trust

By March 28, 2011Uncategorized

Most parents of a child with special needs are at least somewhat familiar with special needs trusts.  Nevertheless, not all of these parents actually establish a special needs trust for their child with special needs.  These parents might derive a false sense of comfort, even without establishing a special needs trust, because they have other children whom they believe will care for their special needs child after they are gone.  Parents who leave their other children substantial inheritances are particularly susceptible to developing this false sense security.

As you can probably surmise, any number of problems can arise when parents count on their children to provide for their special needs child.  Even adult children with the best intentions can sometimes fail to adequately provide for their sibling with special needs after their parents are gone.  For example, if the adult child loses half of his or her inheritance in a divorce, it might become difficult for him or her to continue providing for the sibling with special needs.  Likewise, it is entirely possible that an adult child could make a poor investment decision with the money that was supposed to be available for the special needs child.  In short, parents just cannot be certain that their children will provide for their special needs child after they are gone unless they establish a special needs trust.

Speaking with a special needs trust attorney is a good starting point for parents of a child with special needs.  Doing so in no way indicates a lack of trust in other children that the parents may have.  Rather, establishing a special needs trust is among the most responsible things that parents of a child with special needs can do.  Not only does it ensure that their special needs child will be cared for after they are gone, but it also eliminates any potential burden that caring for the special needs child might place on the parents’ other children.