Selecting a trustee AND a guardian

By April 9, 2011Uncategorized

There is much to consider when it comes to establishing a special needs trust.  Without exception, people must take precautions when funding the trust, as any miscalculations can be costly to trust beneficiaries.  And in addition to funding considerations, people must also make tough decisions about who will act as trustee.  This is particularly true with third party special needs trusts, which are typically established by parents of a child with special needs.

One approach that oftentimes works well when selecting a trustee to oversee a special needs trust is to appoint one person to act as the trustee, and another to act as the special need child’s guardian.  This makes a lot of sense considering that the skills required to adequately manage a special needs trust are quite different than the skills required to act as a guardian for a child with special needs.  Further, appointing a trustee who is different than the child’s appointed guardian establishes a system of checks and balances that can be quite beneficial to the child later on.

A special needs trust attorney can help you select a trustee who is qualified for the job.  You can then appoint this person to the position of trustee in the special needs trust document itself.  As to appointing a guardian, most people make this appointment in their will.  Assuming that you choose two different people to serve as trustee and guardian, these individuals will ideally make certain decisions together to further the interests of your child when you are gone.