Special needs children often require expensive care and treatment, and parents may worry about who will care for their children in the event of an untimely death. Parents may even seek counsel from estate planning attorneys to determine their options and gain information regarding trusts for their children with special needs.
Special Needs Trusts — The Basics
Special needs trusts are established so that parents with special needs children can put money aside to be used for a child's care at a later date. Any funds in the trust are protected and will not impact the amount of money a disabled child or person receives from other sources such social security. Even though there may be thousands of dollars in a trust fund, the individual will still retain all rights to Medicaid for health insurance benefits.
Special Needs Trusts — Financial Security
If a trust fund is not set up in the name of a special needs individual, any monies that person receives can impact social security and Medicaid eligibility. In Illinois, a disabled person cannot have an income more than three times over the poverty level, or receive more than $2,000, and still receive supplemental security income or government health benefits. Once access to these resources has been cut off, an individual would have to re-apply to all programs and prove that he or she has no additional financial resources, therefore causing potential financial hardship. This problem can be eliminated by having a special needs trust fund set up in the individual's name.
Special Needs Trusts — Provisions
Individuals who are guardians of a child or children with special needs should consider making provisions for a supplemental needs trust in their wills. This will entitle a special needs individual to adequate financial provision upon the death of his or her caretaker. There are also options for setting up and paying into a special needs trust while a guardian is still living. If done properly, this will not affect a disabled individual's eligibility for government assistance.
A third option is to set up a special needs trust to hold significant amounts of money granted to the special needs child—inheritance paid out from the death of another relative, for example. This money can go into a trust that has been certified by a public court to ensure the special needs individual will still qualify for his or her other benefits.
For more information about how to establish a special needs trust for your child, please contact a DuPage County special needs trust attorney today to schedule a consultation. We are proud to be of service to Illinois families and we look forward to working with you.