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What are the benefits of a special needs trust?

If you have a child with special needs, you've probably wondered what would happen if you suddenly couldn't care for him or her. Although you know your family would likely step in, not having a plan in place could easily leave matters to chance.

One way of protecting your child now and in the future is to create a special needs trust. Following are some steps to take and some benefits to consider.

Don't wait. Understand the situation and plan now.

The first step is to understand exactly what you're dealing with and what the possible consequences could be if you don't plan. In far too many cases, confusion and family conflicts erupt over the care of a loved one with special needs, and your child's well-being may be at stake.

Discuss your concerns with a trusted friend or family member and your estate planning attorney. Planning now for your child's future can provide peace of mind.

Preserving Eligibility for Government Assistance

There are income limits for government programs such as Supplemental Security Income, which your child may need. If your child suddenly receives an inheritance, eligibility for SSI may be lost. Moreover, the future of the inherited assets may be uncertain if your child is not personally able to manage them.

When you create a special needs trust, your child can be the beneficiary of trust assets while still remaining eligible for government benefits. With this arrangement, you can name a trusted person to manage and distribute the assets to your child.

For more on these matters, please see Nicaud & Sunseri Law Firm's overview of estate planning, wills and trusts.

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