Article 92-Estate Planning Series: This Is How a Trust Can Help Protect Children or Grandchildren With Special Needs

Written by Wright Law on . Posted in Estate Planning, Trusts

There are many reasons I enjoy my work.  Clearly, the first is the clients with whom I have the opportunity to work.  Another significant reason is the opportunity to help clients find solutions where they may have assumed none existed.  Nowhere is this more common than a family with a special needs child or grandchild who is unable to make necessary decisions for him or herself.   

Simply leaving money to that child can actually harm that child’s interests because he or she is not qualified to handle that money.  Additionally, that money may actually disqualify the child from receiving important disability benefits.

I will never forget meeting with a couple who shared with me their desired estate plan.  The money was to be divided among their children.  However, as we talked more, I realized they actually had an additional child; one with profound special needs that required significant assistance well beyond the financial ability of this couple.

I explained that there was a way in which we could provide for this child without jeopardizing the care and disability benefits he was receiving.  There were limitations. However, they could still provide for this child in a way that enhanced, rather than replaced, those benefits.  They had no idea this was an option and had been carrying a great deal of unnecessary guilt at the thought they had to essentially ignore this child in their estate plan.  Tears fell as their guilt slipped away and they involved this child in their estate plan.   

There are ways to make sure your money is distributed as you wish, despite the complications of life.  Indeed, the solution need not be overly complex or expensive.  But it will not happen automatically. 

© 2016 Steven J Wright  

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