Special needs trusts may be key in estate planning and probate

Texans who have loved ones with special needs are dedicated to caring for them. These individuals may need supervision, medications, physical therapy and assistance. A common concern for these families is what will happen if they are no longer there to provide care. Estate planning and probate can address these issues, and one strategy is a special needs trust.

There are critical points to remember when creating a special needs trust. Knowing why it is being created is essential. It lets a person put money aside so that the disabled person can receive care and will continue to get benefits from the government such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income. There are resource limits to retain these benefits, so this must be factored in. Different types of trusts are available and finding the applicable one is key. A third party, separate from the disabled person and the parent, will fund the special needs trust.

Another alternative is a pooled disability trust in which the disabled person funds it with an inheritance or an award for personal injury. Medicaid must be repaid if the person dies, but a special needs trust does not have this stipulation. The money in either of these trusts can be used to purchase essential items like clothing, dental care, a wheelchair and more.

A trustee will oversee the funds, disburse them for the beneficiary and handle government requirements. The person who funds the trust, known as the grantor, should designate an advocate to work with the trustee to decide on proper disbursements. A special needs trust is an example of a way to help a loved one. To determine the strategy for the specific situation, having legal advice from a firm experienced in estate planning and probate may be helpful.