Parents with disabled children not only must learn how to care for their kids while they are growing up, but also need to plan for how to provide for their care after the parents die. People with spouses, siblings or other relatives who become ill and need significant care may also have concerns about how to fund the likely lifelong care they may need.
Depending on the nature of the circumstances, a person’s own financial assets may be insufficient to ensure the level of care they will need. Some government assistance may be available, but family members may wish to set up a trust designed to help in these situations.
The special needs trust
As the name implies, a special needs trust focuses on a person with special needs. This may be due to a disability present at birth or the outcome of an accident or illness experienced as an adult. As Forbes explains, different forms of special needs trusts provide families with unique options but one shared characteristic of these trusts is the ability to maintain the disabled person’s eligibility for governmental benefits like Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income.
These trusts may pay for a variety of things designed to improve or support the person’s quality of life. Examples include pet costs, travel and some medical costs.
Self-funded special needs trusts
According to AARP, the disabled person may put their own assets into a self-funded special needs trust. When the person eventually dies, any money remaining in the trust may be directed back to Medicaid or SSI for repayment of funds received during their lifetime.
Third-party special needs trusts
Multiple people other than the disabled person may put assets into a third-party special needs trust. The grantor controlling the trust dictates what happens to any remaining money upon the death of the disabled person.