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Is a special needs trust the right addition to your estate plan?

Caring for a loved one with special needs is challenging at times, but one of your biggest concerns may involve how you will ensure the care of this individual when you are no longer able to provide that care yourself. With some additions to your estate plan, you can be certain that you have protections in place that will protect your family member for years to come. 

One of the most common ways to care for a loved one with special needs is with the development of a special needs trust. While it is impossible to predict the future, by establishing this type of trust, you have the ability to provide medical care and housing, and ensure the meeting of daily needs.

What you need to know about a special needs trust

A special needs trust could offer many benefits to your Pennsylvania family. Outside of providing you with the peace of mind that comes with knowing your loved ones have what they need, this type of trust can allow you the following advantages:

  • You will be able to set aside money that will not affect your loved one's ability to receive government benefits.
  • You have the right to personally designate a specific trustee to manage the trust and the distribution of the assets.
  • It is an appropriate and practical way to leave an inheritance or set aside earnings from a personal injury claim for individuals who cannot care for themselves.

While it is certainly beneficial to have a will, it is not the most prudent way to leave money for a person with special needs. When left through a will, assets may disqualify a person to continue to receive certain benefits, and other complications can arise as well. A trust is a simple, safe way to provide for a loved one long after you are gone.

Drafting your special needs trust

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to special needs trusts. When drafting yours, you would be wise to ensure that the language is appropriate and tailored to your needs and objectives. The wording of all documents pertaining to estate plans is incredibly important for validity and enforceability in case of a dispute.

A special needs trust is not a replacement for your existing estate plan, but it could be the right way for you to protect a loved one who cannot protect himself or herself. With this tool, you can care for a family member, as well as obtain peace of mind for yourself.

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