Special Needs Estate Planning
Serving families throughout Lynnfield, Wakefield, Reading, Peabody, Danvers, Beverly, Greater Boston, North Shore, and Southern New Hampshire area
Special Needs Estate Planning focuses on providing for the special needs of loved ones with disabilities when their parents or caregivers are no longer there to organize and advocate on their behalf. Parents of children with special needs must make careful estate planning choices to coordinate all of the legal, financial, and special care needs of their children – both now and in the future as the child becomes an adult.
An Overview of Special Needs Estate Planning
There are several types of trusts to assist with these special planning challenges.
- Special Needs Trusts (also known as Supplemental Needs Trusts): For many parents, a Special Needs Trust is the most effective way to help their child with a disability. A Special Needs Trust manages resources while also maintaining the child's eligibility for public assistance benefits.
There are two types of Special Needs Trusts:
- Third-Party Special Needs Trust: These trusts are created using the assets of the parent(s) as part of an estate plan and are distributed by a Will or Living Trust. These can be created and funded with assets during life as long as the trust is irrevocable. They can also be included in your revocable living trust and be created upon your death.
- Self-Settled Special Needs Trust: This type of trust is generally created by a parent, grandparent or legal guardian using the child's assets to fund the Trust (e.g., when the child receives a settlement from a personal injury lawsuit and will require lifelong care). Sometimes referred to as D(4)A trusts, these can allow the child to receive an inheritance or settlement while still remaining eligible for government assistance. If assets remain in the Trust after the child’s death, a payback to the state is required, but only to the extent the child receives public assistance benefits.
Special Needs Trusts are a critical component of your estate planning if you have loved ones with disabilities for whom you wish to provide after your passing. Generally, Special Needs Trusts are either stand-alone trusts funded with separate assets (like life insurance) or they can be sub-trusts in existing living trusts. Drafting, funding, and administering special needs trusts must be done with great care and with the advice of a highly trained and experienced estate planning attorney. Please contact us if you have further questions, or take a look at the Frequently Asked Questions section on Special Needs.