When you have someone in your family with special needs, it means you need to take some extra steps to help them live a fulfilling life. Of course, this might include seeing special doctors and healthcare providers. It might also entail some special financial planning. One particular step that’s often helpful is setting up a special needs trust.
Setting up a trust for someone with special needs can ensure that he or she is taken care of, through thick and thin; it can also provide peace of mind for family members and caregivers. As you consider a disability trust for the special needs person in your family, here are some basic guidelines and principles to weigh.
If you’re setting up a trust for a special needs child, it’s ultimately to make sure that he or she is financially covered—but remember that there may be some extra support that’s needed. For example, a special needs child may need to have certain equipment, or hire certain caretakers and professionals. This means added expenses, and it can sometimes mean added taxation.
Always work with your estate planning attorney to check these special needs and additional requirements against tax laws and fees.
Another important part of setting up a disability trust is clarifying just what special needs must be accounted for.
Consider this example. As a parent, grandparent, or caregiver, you have a clear idea of what your son or daughter requires in order to live a happy and healthy life. In short, you know how they need to be taken care of. But what happens if you die? Whoever is appointed the new guardian, according to the terms of your own will and estate plan, will need to have a clear list of your son or daughter’s needs. (It goes without saying that your estate plan should clearly establish guardianship; else, the state may step in and provide guardianship.)
As such, it’s important to ensure that you leave behind a road map. What’s the diagnosis? How does it impede or impair your son or daughter, day to day? What medications are required? Which doctors or medical professionals does your son or daughter see?
The best way to lay all this out is by crafting a letter of intent. A letter of intent is a supplemental document that goes with your estate plan, and leaves beneficiaries with additional insights and information that will help them. You can enlist an estate planning lawyer to help you craft this important document.
Finally, note that, in the end, conventional estate planning efforts may not be enough to offer support for your child with special needs—especially if you’re not sure what sort of additional care they will need in the future.
That’s why it can be important to set up a disability trust—basically, a type of trust for a special needs child. These trusts were created with the specific purpose of helping families cover their bases and ensure that those with special needs are looked after. Setting up a trust for special needs can give your entire family the flexibility and peace of mind you’re after.
As you consider setting up a trust like this, it’s critical to speak with an estate planning expert. At Singh Law Firm, our aim is to provide custom solutions for families, and to make long-term financial planning as seamless and as simple as possible. This extends to our work setting up disability trusts.
Whether you have an advanced question or need to start with Estate Planning 101, we’re here for you. We’d love to talk with you more about your need for a disability trust. Reach out to the team at Singh Law Firm today to schedule a consultation about California special needs trusts.