Are you a parent or caretaker for a special needs person? If so, you already know the great responsibility involved with caring for our special-needs loved ones. This responsibility can last a lifetime. But what happens when we have passed on? This is where good financial and estate planning can be particularly useful. Consider working with a trusted professional when contemplating special needs financial planning.
Consider a Special Needs Trust
In many respects, special needs financial planning is similar to any type of financial planning. However, when you have a special-needs dependant, another component of planning may be needed for integration within the overall process. This is where a special needs trust may be highly advantageous.
A special needs trust is a specific type of trust set up for the benefit of the special needs individual. The primary goal of a special needs trust is to ensure the beneficiary will continue to qualify for public benefits while at the same time having enough in reserve to support themselves throughout their lifetime. As long as the trust is set up as being irrevocable, then, assets put into that trust are not considered as a resource when determining means-tested benefits like supplemental security income (SSI).
What Can Be Put Into a Special Needs Trust
Assets placed in a special needs trust can be used to pay for most things that support the particular lifestyle of the special needs person. These things include, but are not restricted to the following:
- Educational costs
- Travel- and special exercise-related costs
- Specialized equipment, such as, for example, a wheelchair
- Electronic equipment and appliances such as, for example, an elevator or stairlift
- Payments for companion assistants in in-house home care providers
- Vehicles, including specialized vehicles, if needed
As can be seen, this list is fairly comprehensive. Nevertheless, you should check everything out. This is where competent professionals can really help.