Why parents of the disabled should consider special needs trusts

If you are a New York parent of a disabled or special needs child, your estate planning needs will likely differ considerably from those of your friends and colleagues. A special needs trust is one method many parents of special needs children use to make plans for the future, and at the law offices of Joseph A. Ledwidge, we have helped many clients with similar concerns consider this and related estate planning options.

According to CNBC, covering the lifetime care of your special needs child can cost millions of dollars. However, a special needs trust may help you set aside assets for your disabled child without worrying about whether those assets will disqualify your child from being able to receive public assistance.

Many people with disabilities or special needs also utilize public assistance programs such as Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income, but your child typically must pass “means testing” in order to receive said benefits. In other words, whether he or she will have access to public assistance depends on how much money he or she has at his or her disposal – and leaving assets to your child in a standard will may make your disabled child ineligible for these benefits.

Should you leave your special needs child assets in a special needs trust, however, you can effectively safeguard those funds and make it so that they do not factor in during means testing for public benefit eligibility. An additional benefit of the special needs trust is that the assets placed inside are not the direct property of the trust’s beneficiary. This means that once the beneficiary passes away, the funds in the trust can go toward other family members or charitable organizations. Find more about estate planning on our webpage.

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Joseph A. Ledwidge, P.C.
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Joseph A. Ledwidge, P.C.