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Planning for the future: When to establish a special needs trust

On Behalf of | May 28, 2024 | Estate Planning

If you’re a parent of a child with a significant disability, planning for their long-term care is likely one of your top priorities. Among your priorities should be helping to ensure their continued access to government benefits and supplementing their financial security.

That is why you should consider setting up a special needs trust (SNT) on your child’s behalf. This creative tool can allow you to set aside financial resources without jeopardizing your child’s eligibility for vital government programs.

Why does timing matter?

Ideally, you should set up an SNT as soon as you receive your child’s diagnosis. But naturally, you may not be able to create a trust this quickly. Understandably, you’ll likely be preoccupied with learning how to best care for and advocate for your child for the first couple of months.

However, at your earliest convenience, you can benefit from consulting a reliable legal team about how to set up a practical SNT. By acting early, you avoid unintentionally jeopardizing your child’s access to government programs.

Seeking legal guidance is especially crucial because eligibility for government assistance programs often depends on the beneficiary’s financial status. Your legal representative can help ensure you don’t unknowingly disqualify your child by leaving them what the program considers a large sum of money. Setting up an SNT with legal guidance can help ensure your child’s assets are managed in a way that maintains their benefit eligibility.

An SNT can give your family peace of mind

As a parent, knowing that there is a solid financial plan in place for your child’s future can bring significant peace of mind. Disabilities can be unpredictable, and having an SNT established early can prepare you for unforeseen circumstances.

Early establishment of an SNT can also help prevent potential family disputes over the handling of the child’s finances. By clearly outlining the terms and the trustee’s responsibilities, you can reduce the likelihood of conflicts and help ensure that your child’s needs are never compromised.

Setting up a special needs trust is a thoughtful and proactive step towards securing your child’s long-term well-being. Remember, there’s no single right time to establish an SNT. However, consulting with a trusted legal team as soon as possible after your child’s diagnosis can allow you to develop a personalized plan that provides peace of mind and the best possible future for your loved one, no matter what.