3 things to include in your special needs trust

If you have a child with special needs, you likely worry about providing care and meeting their needs after you are gone. Establishing a special needs trust is one way to provide financial resources for their care without costing them their government benefit awards.

When creating a special needs trust, there are a few components you should include.

1. Letter of intent

Write a detailed letter of intent providing guidance on your child’s preferences and daily needs. Give input on their interests, likes and dislikes to assist the trustee in making appropriate decisions. Include information about their medical care, living situation, diet and other important details about their lifestyle and care requirements.

2. Trustee and successor trustee

Choose a trustee to manage the assets and distributions from the trust. Many families pick a relative or close friend for this role. Make sure to designate at least one successor trustee in case the primary trustee can no longer fulfill their duties. Select someone trustworthy who knows your child’s needs.

3. Distribution guidelines

Provide clear guidelines and parameters for the trustee on how you wish the trustee to use the funds. For example, funds might cover therapies, vacations, entertainment expenses or other extras not paid for by government assistance programs. Get specific on what expenses you will and will not allow distributions for.

Including these key elements takes some guesswork out of planning for your child’s long-term needs. The more details you include in your special needs trust planning, the easier administration becomes for the trustee that you appoint.



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