If you have a child who has a disability or other special needs, you may want to add a special needs trust to your estate plan. This type of trust gives your child access to funds to use on supplemental expenses without rendering him or her ineligible for means-tested government benefits, like Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income.
After deciding to set up a special needs trust, you should devote some attention to picking the right trustee to oversee it. This person must competently complete some major tasks.
Recordkeeping and reporting
Like other types of trusts, special needs trusts have some demanding recordkeeping and reporting requirements. To administer the trust properly, the trustee should be familiar with state and federal law, needs-based programs and relevant court rulings. He or she should also be able to meet tight deadlines and prepare complex forms.
If your child uses funds from the special needs trust on the same items means-tested government programs typically cover, he or she may inadvertently become ineligible for financial assistance. Consequently, before approving disbursements, the trustee must be certain they do not violate the rules of any applicable program.
Supporting your child
The special needs trustee is often in an ideal place to know whether your child is receiving the care and services he or she needs to thrive. If there are gaps in medical treatment, social services or other areas, the trustee may find professionals to help to fill the void.
While you may do an excellent job caring for your child now, you can continue to support his or her quality of life by setting up a special needs trust. Ultimately, choosing a trustee who has the ability to complete all necessary tasks may also put your mind at ease.