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Sunday, January 7, 2018

Special Trusts For Special People

If you have a loved one with special needs, you are probably an expert at navigating government bureaucracy. Developing this skill set is basically a necessity if you want to ensure your loved one has the quality of life they deserve. It can be scary to think about what will happen to your loved one after you are no longer there to advocate, cajole, and fill out endless reams of paperwork on his or her behalf. Creating a special needs trust may ease some of your worries.

A special needs trust, also known as a supplemental needs trust, is funding that is managed on behalf of someone who cannot take care of themselves. The funds in the trust can be used to supplement government benefits without jeopardizing your loved one’s eligibility for those benefits.

Without a special needs trust in place, someone relying on government support who inherits part of an estate may lose their eligibility for benefits and be forced to spend all the money they have caring for themselves. After all their money is gone, they will of course qualify for government benefits again, but they will be forced to live a meager lifestyle since the government only provides for basic needs.

On the other hand, someone who qualifies for government benefits and has a special needs trust in place need not worry that an inheritance will upend their current set-up. Funds held in a special needs trust do not count when determining eligibility for benefits. This means the government will continue to provide the basics and the funds in the trust can be used to fund extras that improve the quality of life for your loved one. For example, if your loved one could use trust funds to get a ride to a doctor appointment, or even attend a sporting event on his or her birthday. As long as the funds are used to enrich the life of the beneficiary, there are few limitations on what the money can be used for.

Trust funds can even be used to pay for a professional to manage the funds and the care of your loved one. This obviously isn’t as good as having you there, but it is better than relying on the government to sort things out.


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