Some adults with disabilities require lifelong care, which may include legal guardianship. If you care for a disabled family member, you have probably considered what will happen if your loved one outlives you.
As the legal guardian of a disabled adult, you must create an estate plan that ensures his or her care does not falter in the event of your death. Many caregivers address their loved one’s future care in their wills, but you can take further steps to protect the person’s best interests by creating a special needs trust.
Why is a special needs trust important?
People with disabilities often require care and equipment that insurance does not cover. Placing assets in a trust ensures that the person’s quality of life will not suffer for a lack of funds.
What are the advantages of a special needs trust?
Unlike a will, a trust does not go through the probate process. This means the beneficiary can access the money sooner. Another consideration is privacy; trusts are not public record. Leaving funds in a trust for your loved one safeguards financial privacy, reducing the risk of financial abuse.
Does a special needs trust affect SSI benefits?
When determining eligibility for SSI benefits, SSA policy makes an exception for assets contained in a trust, provided the trust meets the stated requirements. Be diligent when establishing the terms of the trust to ensure that the individual remains eligible for the services he or she requires.
When you care for a dependent adult, planning your estate is about more than finances. It is a way to ensure that the support you give your loved one does not end with your death.