You might be one of many Missouri parents who take care of a child that lives with a disability. Whether your son or daughter has a physical impediment, such as paralysis or another issue where mobility is only possible with a wheelchair, or a condition such as Down Syndrome or autism, you might find yourself worrying about providing care for him or her after you’re gone. As you navigate the estate planning process, it’s a good idea to explore options that can help protect assets for your loved one with special needs.
If your son or daughter receives government-based financial assistance, his or her case will be under periodic review to ensure eligibility. A special needs trust is a valuable tool that enables you to set funds aside without it counting as income against eligibility for Medical Assistance or Supplemental Security Income. There is no limit to the amount of money you can place in a special needs trust.
Grantors initiate special needs trusts and trustees manage them
When you set up a trust fund for a loved one with special needs, you are acting as a grantor. As part of the process, you will designate a person or group to manage the funds in the trust in accordance with your wishes. The manager of the trust is known as the “trustee.”
A trustee should be someone you can rely on who is willing to be available to carry out the duties of the trust, including making sure to distribute the assets to the proper person at the proper time. You may also name a secondary trustee in case the original trustee dies or becomes incapacitated. This person is a successor trustee.
A special needs trust can cover many expenses
If your loved one has a disability or is chronically ill, expenses may arise that are not covered by Medical Assistance or other government-funded financial supplements. People often use funds in a special needs trust to cover transportation expenses or pay for at-home care providers.
The beneficiary’s age matters when it comes to a special needs trust
If your goal is to provide financial supplements to a loved one with special needs, you’ll want to execute the special needs trust before he or she turns 65. Once you open this type of trust fund, it’s irrevocable, meaning permanent and unchangeable. This can be a good thing because it means the government cannot garnish the funds for creditors or as compensation for damages in a lawsuit.