Part of parenting is wanting the best for your children. As hard as it is to think about what will happen to your kids after you’re gone, estate planning provides the tools necessary to provide for them in your absence. This is especially important if you have a child with special needs.
Creating a special needs trust (SNT) can allow you to designate money for your son or daughter’s use. And since these assets aren’t in their name, an SNT doesn’t harm your child’s eligibility for government benefits, like health insurance and Supplemental Security Income.
Three qualities to look for
Choosing someone to manage your child’s trust is critical. Although you may decide to hire a professional trustee, like an attorney or accountant, doing so is not always necessary.
While considering friends and family members to oversee your child’s trust, bear in mind those who are:
- Capable. Is there an adult in your life who is financially responsible, understands bookkeeping and will be willing to ask for help when legal matters are unclear?
- Compassionate. The individual you choose will be uniquely positioned to assist with your child’s quality of life. If they have unmet needs, the trustee should have the compassion to help secure appropriate resources. For this reason, you might feel more comfortable with having someone you’re close to manage the trust.
- Steadfast. Not everything your child desires can be covered by funds from their SNT. To ensure the beneficiary does not lose their benefits eligibility, the trustee may need to deny disbursement requests. They should be able to hold their ground while kindly explaining your child’s options in a way they understand.
You probably already have a general idea of who you’d trust to handle matters on your behalf. Ultimately, interviewing all prospects – both personal or professional – can help you decide how to choose a trustee who has the ability and willingness to help your child once you’re no longer able to do so on your own.