When planning and preparing your trust plan, it is important to consider the individual needs and unique circumstances of all the descendants you will be leaving your trust’s residuary to.  As the old Chinese proverb goes:  “He who fails to plan, plans to fail.”  None of us want our trust plan to fail.  Unfortunately, trust plans can fail to accomplish what we intended them to accomplish due to poor planning.

A common need for many trustmakers is providing for family members that are disabled and rely on government benefits.  Inheritance that is given to an individual that is reliant on government benefits, through a traditional trust plan, can in some cases disqualify them from their government benefits.  In other words, our good intentions can cause more harm than good.  A Special Needs Trust can be vital for anyone with a family member with a disability. Particularly if that individual relies on government benefits.  A Special Needs Trust is created to hold and protect that individual’s trust share.  A trustee oversees the Special Needs Trust and ensures that the trust’s provisions are adhered to.  The trustee also ensures that prohibited items are not purchased with trust funds and “special needs” are paid directly to the entity or individual providing those “special needs.”  In short, the Special Needs Trust retains that person’s inheritance on their behalf, avoiding disqualification from their government benefits.  It is a way of ensuring that you leave them a legacy rather than causing them a mess.

For additional reading:

A Supplemental Needs Trust as Part of Your Estate Plan

Selecting the Right Individuals to Oversee Your Estate

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