If you have a child with a disability, you may be concerned about providing for them when you die. Depending on the nature of their disability, they may be unable to work and provide for themselves. They may need daily help them to feed and clothe themselves or have other special requirements.

If you leave them money in the bank or leave them property there are two problems:

  • Security of the assets: If your child has certain mental illnesses, they may be unable to manage finances adequately. It could make it easy for an unscrupulous individual to swindle them out of the money or assets you leave.
  • Eligibility for benefits: When government agencies decide on benefits such as supplemental security income, housing assistance or Medicaid, they look at what assets a person has. Their inheritance could make them illegible for these benefits.

A special needs trust is a way around these issues. They protect your child’s inheritance from other people, and assets held in trust are not counted by the government agencies. This leaves your child able to claim the help they deserve. When you make a trust, you will need to designate someone you can confide in to administer it on your child’s behalf.

Depending on how you set up the trust, you could leave money in a lump sum or set it up, so it regularly pays a set amount. As trusts are not subject to probate, it will also ensure your child can access financial support sooner, rather than waiting until probate clears.

Seek legal help to understand more about estate planning if you have a child with a disability.