Why A Special Needs Trust Is Crucial For Autistic Children

If you are the parent of an autistic child, you know how critical you are to meeting their needs. Many children with special needs rely on government assistance programs such as Medicaid to provide support as they get older. You can provide additional security to your autistic child by setting up a special needs trust (SNT) after you pass.

Learn about the benefits of special needs trusts in this post. Then, if you have questions, talk to our Northfield estate planning attorneys to learn how an SNT can protect your child’s future.

Overview Of Special Needs Trusts

An SNT is a legal agreement that ensures your assets are held in a trust to support your autistic child when you die. The funds are the trust’s property, not your child’s. So, they are not factored in when government agencies consider their eligibility for financial support.

The child’s parents or guardians establish most SNTs. The person who sets up the account is known as the grantor. That person is supposed to act in the interests of the beneficiary. Duties include providing funds, understanding federal and state rules for applying for benefits, and paying taxes.

What Are The Benefits Of An SNT?

A special needs trust can play a vital role in your autistic child’s welfare after you are gone. Benefits include:

  • Trust assets are not considered when determining if the child is eligible for Medicaid.
  • You control who you want to be named as the trustee of the trust.
  • The trustee has a fiduciary responsibility to act in your child’s best interest.
  • Trust assets can be used for many things, including rent, mortgage payments, education, vacations, medical bills, etc.

Considerations For Establishing An SNT

If you have an autistic child and want them to have an SNT, think about how you want it to affect their life. Some questions to ask yourself before talking to an estate planning attorney are:

  • How much does the child need to maintain the desired quality of life after you die?
  • How long do you want the SNT to provide financial support?
  • When do you want the money provided to the child?
  • Will the autistic child have control of the assets? Or will you name a third party?
  • Where do they go if there are still assets in the trust when your child passes?

Remember that a special needs trust is a legal agreement that will significantly affect your child’s life after you are gone. Therefore, it is essential to talk to a qualified estate planning lawyer. This will ensure the trust reflects your wishes and is in the child’s best interests.

Contact A Northfield Estate Planning Lawyer Today

Orlowsky & Wilson possesses 30 years of experience helping Northfield families perform comprehensive estate planning to preserve their assets. Our attorneys also work with estate planning clients in Lake County, Chicago, Libertyville, Northbrook, Gurnee, Glenview, Grayslake, Lake Zurich, Lake Forest, Buffalo Grove, Vernon Hills, Highland Park, Wilmette, Deerfield, Arlington Heights, and Wilmette. Contact our Northfield estate planning attorneys at (847) 325-5559 if you have legal questions about setting up a special needs trust.

Updated as of July 2019
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