Establishing a special needs trust may be one important part of long-term care planning. This type of trust holds funds for the use of the beneficiary without jeopardizing his or her eligibility for means-tested government assistance.
When forming a special needs trust, you must designate a trustee to manage it. Along with having responsibility for basic recordkeeping and reporting tasks, the special needs trustee ensures the beneficiary is receiving the care he or she needs to thrive.
Basic knowledge of government programs
Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid and other means-tested government programs can be complex. If the beneficiary uses funds from the special needs trust for the same expenses government programs cover, he or she may lose financial assistance. Consequently, the trustee you choose should have a working knowledge of government programs, especially those the beneficiary receives.
An investment strategy
With savvy investing, funds inside your special needs trust may grow exponentially over time. To ensure the beneficiary receives as much benefit as possible from the trust, your trustee should have an investment strategy. He or she does not necessarily have to perform day-to-day investment activities, though. A financial advisor can take care of that.
The beneficiary’s fundamental needs
You can probably trust the beneficiary’s doctor and caseworker to keep an eye on certain matters. Nevertheless, something eventually may fall through the cracks. If you designate a special needs trustee who understands the beneficiary’s fundamental needs, the trustee may act as an advocate for your loved one’s care.
Because of the many ancillary duties that come with being a special needs trustee, you may not want to take the selection process lightly. Fortunately, if you choose a trustee who is not a good fit, you can usually name a different one.