You know that your son needs around-the-clock care. For years, you and your spouse have provided it as much as you could and with a little help from others. Your son is severely disabled with limited physical and mental capacities, requiring a wheelchair and extra doses of love and understanding.
But as you grow older, you wonder what will happen to him when you and your spouse are no longer around to provide the company and care that he needs. For your family and others like yours, creating a special needs trust is an essential part of your estate plan. It will provide the money needed to allow your son to live more comfortably until the end of his life.
Careful thought and planning needed
A special needs trust is a logical alternative to an outright inheritance. While such a trust cannot provide money for food, clothing and shelter, it can pay for other things. For example, there is the possibility of purchasing a home in which your son can live. In addition, the trust could pay for an advocate who ensures your child’s needs are met.
Creating a special needs trust takes time, guidance from a skilled team and a great amount of money. Initially, assemble trusted and caring family members willing to provide funds for the trust. Also, it is a good idea to seek input from a skilled estate planning attorney and financial adviser.
How much money will the trust need? It depends on many factors, but many professionals suggest a minimum amount of $100,000. You must remember, though, that the special needs trust may have to last from 30 to 40 years. With that length of time, it may be more realistic to have as much as $1 million in the trust.
Gaining peace of mind
Knowing that you have a financial plan in place provides you with some peace of mind. A special needs trust lets your son maintain his eligibility for necessary government benefits, too. With a trustee overseeing the trust, your son will have the financial wherewithal to pay for many things such as medical expenses and equipment for years to come.