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A special needs trust may benefit your disabled child

Having a child with special needs can often present many joys and challenges throughout life. Though his or her disability may have no bearing on your willingness to care for your child, you undoubtedly know that he or she will likely need care even after you are gone. Because of this need, you may wish to consider preparing for such a scenario when creating your estate plan.

You may wonder how your estate plan could help your child receive needed care. By setting up a special needs trust, you may have the opportunity to continue providing for him or her financially even after your death. This idea may bring some comfort to you and many others who face such concerns.

Why a special needs trust?

Special needs trusts can offer many benefits to your child, especially if he or she receives government benefits. Because many benefit programs review financial information regarding a disabled person's income situation, leaving a considerable amount of money directly to your child could have the opposite effect of what you may have hoped. Rather than building on the financial benefits he or she receives, a directly received inheritance could end up disqualifying him or her from certain government assistance programs.

With a special needs trust, you can place the desired funds and assets into the trust account, which keeps that property separate from your child's estate. Therefore, the government will likely overlook this account when determining eligibility for benefits. Even if your child does not get benefits now, having the funds in the trust could safeguard against disqualification in the event that he or she needs benefits later.

How are the funds accessed?

When creating the special needs trust, you will name a trustee to manage the account. This individual will have access to the property in the trust and should follow the terms of the trust set forth by you when it comes to distributing the funds for the needs of your child. Again, because allowing the trustee to give money directly to your child could negatively affect his or her chances of obtaining benefits, having the trustee make purchases for your child using the trust funds may act as a better arrangement.

How can you create a special needs trust?

If you believe that setting up a special needs trust could benefit your child, you may wish to find out more information on the specifics for ensuring that you set up the trust correctly. Utilizing local Ohio legal resources could help you better understand how to work this type of document into your estate plan.

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I am attorney Dorothea J. Kingsbury. I provide good advice and real solutions to challenging problems. I can help you choose and personalize estate planning instruments that meet your family's present and future needs. I can develop elder law strategies that ensure proper care for your loved ones. I can guide you through the probate/estate administration process when a family member has passed away. I can help make sure your interests are protected during your real estate transaction. I am here to make things easier.

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