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A special needs trust can help put parents' minds at ease

Many Massachusetts parents devote their lives to taking care of their children -- especially children with special needs. These children often require care even after they become adults, and additional estate planning will most likely be required in order to help secure their futures. Creating a special needs trust to go along with other documents could help put parent's minds at ease.

It might not be in the child's best interests to assume that other family members will voluntarily step up to take care of him or her after the parents pass away. This leaves too much to chance, and too much is at stake. Special needs children are often eligible for government assistance, but they must meet certain qualifications first -- including financial ones.

A special needs trust can help ensure that the child will be eligible for the services he or she needs. Assets can be placed in the trust for the benefit of the child and will not interfere with any other funding sources. The trust can also specify what expenses can be paid by the trust and when distributions can be made. If the trust is properly drafted and executed, it can ease the financial stresses of the disabled child and whomever takes over his or her care after the parents' deaths.

Even when Massachusetts parents anticipate needing a special needs trust, they should not attempt to create one without the assistance of an attorney. The language requirements of the trust can be complex, and relying on do-it-yourself documents could jeopardize the child's future. Furthermore, determining how to structure the trust depends on many factors that might not be taken into consideration with a boilerplate document.

Source: lccentral.com, "Estate Planning for Children with Disabilities", Jeff McKenna, Sept. 27, 2016

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