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Protecting your child with a special needs trust

One of the primary concerns of people who have children with special needs is who will take care of them when they are gone if the disabled child is not able to care for or support themselves as adults. By setting up a special needs trust, you can help ensure that they'll be cared for and that their assets will be protected.

By setting up a special needs trust for a physically or mentally disabled child or other family member, a trustee can accomplish a number of important goals that will give them peace of mind.

Parents can designate what living arrangements the child will have and who their caregivers will be. They can also arrange for payment for that housing and care. This can help their child maintain the same standards of care and a level of stability after the parents are gone or no longer able to care for the child.

A special needs trust can also help ensure that their child will never become a conservator of the state. This can happen if there is no family member or other designated guardian to care for and support them.

Since many physically and mentally disabled adults receive government disability benefits, a trust can protect these assets from unscrupulous people who might steal or misuse them. Often, people who are permanently disabled have received large legal settlements. A trust can protect that money as well as any inheritances.

Every situation is different, of course. Some disabled children will require care for the remainder of their lives, while others will eventually be able to live independently. It may be wise to speak with your child's doctors before speaking with an experienced Maryland estate planning attorney about setting up a special needs trust.

Source: FindLaw, "Disabled Child? Create a Special Needs Trust," Stephanie Rabiner, Esq, accessed April 27, 2017

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