Every parent hopes their children will grow up to be self sufficient adults capable of caring for themselves and their family. For parents of disabled children, this is a goal their child may never reach. If you are the parent of a disabled child, by structuring your assets wisely you will be able provide the most benefit for the longest possible time for your child when you are gone.
If you have the assets to cover the anticipated costs of caring for your disabled child for the rest of his or her life, you may choose to establish a trust that will manage your money for your child’s benefit once you are gone. The trust can set forth the living conditions which you would like maintained for your child, the types of expenditures the trustee can make for the benefit of your child, and give your trustee discretionary powers to use trust assets for the benefit of your child.
If you know your assets will not be sufficient to cover your child’s lifetime needs, you may not want to leave your assets to your child outright when you pass away. Once your child receives an inheritance, this money is considered theirs and would cause them to have to expend nearly all their inheritance before qualifying for government assistance. Instead of this outright transfer, you may consider establishing a ‘special needs trust’ which sets aside some or all of your estate assets to be managed and used for your child’s benefit in a way that does not disqualify your child from receiving public assistance. The trustee of your special needs trust will have the ability to use trust assets for purchasing products and services that would improve your child’s quality of life, while not disqualifying your child from receiving any governmental benefits they may otherwise be eligible for.