When Should I Establish My Child’s Supplemental Needs Trust?

For parents of a child with a disability, it is important to establish a Supplemental Needs Trust when their child is still young. Even though eligibility for many government assistance programs does not begin until a child is at least 18, it is beneficial to establish a trust before the child is old enough to qualify because it is a preemptive measure that goes a long way in protecting the child’s future.

One major benefit of establishing a Supplemental Needs Trust at a child’s young age is providing a destination for gifts. Once the trust is created, family members may begin providing funds for the trust and designating it as the recipient of an inheritance. This way, collection of trust funds may begin early in life, and the child’s eligibility for government benefits will not be jeopardized should he or she receive a large gift later in life, whatever the age of the Beneficiary.

Another reason for establishing a trust while the child is young is that it provides parents with peace of mind that the child’s needs will be met if something were to happen to them. Having assets secured in a trust ensures that there will be funds available for the child if it is ever unexpectedly needed. In conjunction with establishing the Supplemental Needs Trust, many parents choose to execute their own estate planning documents, which grant assets such as money, stocks, and even a home to the trust.  In addition, they may purchase a life insurance plan to be held in the trust. Following these steps are a great way to maximize the amount of funding available to a child with special needs. For more information about establishing a Supplemental Needs Trust for your child, be sure to consult with an attorney in your state who specializes in Special and Supplemental Needs Trusts.

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