Parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles often come into our offices to make estate plans, and one of the questions they ask is how they can support the people in their lives who have special needs. Special needs can include anything from Autism or Down Syndrome to Paralysis or blindness, and everything in between. Our clients know enough to know that they can’t leave an inheritance outright without jeopardizing their loved one’s financial assistance, but they don’t know exactly how they can help. We always tell them that the only way to leave money to their loved one with special needs is through a special needs trust.
Special needs trusts are not yet well-known, but they are gaining attention among attorneys, financial advisors, and in the mainstream media. In fact, we recently found this very helpful article about special needs trusts on an online news source. The article explains that a special needs trust can help by paying for things to improve quality of life that the government will not generally pay for; things such as cultural events, travel to stay in touch with family, computer and media equipment and books.
The article mentions parents setting up special needs trusts for their young children, but a special needs trust does not have to be so limited. It is true that it must be established by a parent or grandparent, but a special needs trust is not limited to just minor children. It can be established for an adult of any age, and anybody can contribute to the trust.
A special needs trust can mean the difference between living an enriched life and barely getting by. If you have someone in your life with special needs, inquire about a special needs trust as a way to leave an inheritance, it could make a world of difference.