I was at the park recently with another mom whose daughter has autism. She mentioned she thought she should come and see me at work because she heard she may need a special needs trust for her daughter, but wasn't sure what that was all about.
I explained to her that for starters, she and her husband needed to set up a revocable living trust for themselves, so they can make sure their money would go to each other if one of them dies, and avoid the surviving spouse having to go through a long and expensive court process known as probate. I also told them they needed several other legal documents as well, so someone could manage their assets for them if they were seriously hurt, or make medical decisions for them.
Then I mentioned that they needed a special needs trust for their daughter, because her autism may limit her ability to live independently as an adult. If they name her as a beneficiary in the family revocable living trust and the parents end up passing away, this could interfere with her right to government benefits when she's eighteen. But if they leave her money to her in a special needs trust that can be used for her care, the government will allow her to have that money in addition to her government benefits.
There are different types of special needs trusts parents can choose to set up for their child with special needs, including a stand-alone special needs trust, a testamentary special needs trust, and a pooled special needs trust. All of them will ensure your child can receive an inheritance from you without interfering with their government benefits.
To find out what type of special needs trust will work best for your situation, schedule a planning session with your Newport Beach estate planning law firm—Meier Law Firm— and protect your child's future care and well-being today. Call 949-718-0420 to get started.