Your Special Child
You feel good about your financial future. You have made a will, designated your beneficiaries and talked to family members. You have tried to allocate your estate equitably, and your daughter and son have agreed that Joey, their special needs sibling will get the ‘lion’s share’ of your inheritance. Joey’s brother and sister are very successful and do not require any large inheritance and they want their brother Joey to be well-taken-care-of for the rest of his like.
The above is a perfect family scenario and a very rosy picture, with one major exception. When you die and Joey comes into his inheritance, the sum of money that Joey inherits may very well trigger an unforeseen and unfortunate occurrence.
Currently, Joey is qualified for special assistance help. When he receives his lump sum distribution from your estate, that assistance could disqualify him from other government assistance. The funds that Joey inherited have disqualified him and those inherited funds must be depleted before Joey can be eligible again. And…The eligibility process can be a long one.
The possible solution to the above scenario would be setting up a Supplemental Needs Trust/Special Needs Trust. This type of trust could allow Joey to qualify for his benefits and the trust would provide funds to be used for Joey that are additional to his basic needs.
The above is a very simplified version of a Special Needs Trust. Such a trust is complex; can be critical for a family with a special needs child and requires an experienced professional to structure the trust within your estate planning documents.
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