Autism is a spectrum. People diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder may sometimes seem much like their neurotypical peers. Other times, they may have obvious signs of a disabling medical condition.
Given that autism presents so differently in individuals, it can be very hard to predict what kinds of support an autistic person needs and what kind of life they will have as an adult. If you have an autistic child who is reaching the age of adulthood and wants to live independently, how can you support them in that endeavor?
A special needs trust is not only for when a parent dies
Many parents with autistic children will decide to create a special needs trust to protect their children after their deaths. A well-structured and properly funded special needs trust can help support someone who cannot support themselves. It can also give them the connection and oversight that comes from having a trustee manage their resources.
A special needs trust can benefit your child as easily while you are still alive as it can after you die. You can potentially help them cover their basic living costs without cutting them off from state aid which might be necessary for them to afford their plans. A trust that limits how much your child can access at a time could keep your child’s finances in compliance with the requirements for housing assistance or Medicaid.
With the right structure and a responsible trustee, a special needs trust could provide your child with more financial resources and could give you peace of mind because you know that they will have help. Considering the long-term and near-future needs of a child with special needs can make planning for their future easier.