Do you have your disabled child written into your will? Or are they disinherited and you are relying on their siblings to take care of them? This is potentially problematic and you should consider a Special Needs Trust.

Both of these methods of attempting to care for a disabled child after your death,have undesirable risk. If your child is receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid or other needs-based state or federal government funds, leaving your child assets in your will can cause them to become disqualified for this type of government assistance. If you are disinheriting your disabled child in anticipation that your other children will see to it they are taken care of, you are also taking on risk. The other children do not have any obligation to provide top-notch care for their disabled sibling. One way to eliminate these risks and make sure that your disabled child is provided and protected for long after you are gone is to set up a Special Needs Trust.

Special Needs Trusts are a unique way to make sure that your disabled child’s comfort, dignity and joy are maintained while also making sure that your child does not lose out on government benefits. A properly constructed Special Needs Trust is not counted as an asset as applied to eligibility for government benefits. This means that your disabled child will be allowed to receive things like social security and Medicaid for food and shelter, and the trust will be able to provide for things like medical and dental expenses not covered by third parties, clothing, electronic equipment, training programs, education and education supplies, treatment and rehabilitation, private residential care, telephone, cable, internet, transportation, vacations, participation in hobbies and sports, and much more. As long as the trust is paying for things other than housing and food, items that social security and other government assistant programs are meant to provide, the special non-support needs paid for by the trust will not be considered income to the disabled child. Setting up as Special Needs Trust can be a great way to ensure that your child is taken care of in the future.

Planning for the provisions and protection of a disabled child can be difficult for a parent after they are gone but it is not impossible. Through proper planning, your child can receive the benefit of your estate while still maintaining government benefits.  

Bill Hesch is a CPA, PFS (Personal Financial Specialist) and attorney licensed in Ohio and Kentucky who helps clients with their financial and estate planning. He also practices elder law, corporate law, Medicaid planning, tax law and probate in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas. His practice area includes Hamilton, Butler, Warren and Clermont counties in Ohio and Campbell, Kenton and Boone counties in Kentucky.

(Legal Disclaimer: Bill Hesch submits this blog to provide general information about the firm and its services. Information in this blog is not intended as legal advice, and any person receiving information on this page should not act on it without consulting professional legal counsel. While at times Bill Hesch may render an opinion, Bill Hesch does not offer legal advice through this blog. Bill Hesch does not enter into an attorney-client relationship with any online reader via online contact.)