One of the greatest responsibilities of a parent or guardian is the proper care of those who depend on them. That responsibility is even greater for those who parent or care for a child, dependent or loved one who has special needs. You may consider creating a special needs trust to ensure that your loved one can be cared for after your passing.

So what exactly is a special needs trust?

A special needs trust allows you to protect your assets for the benefit of your loved one and can help ensure financial provision for them, without losing eligibility for Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This is big, as these programs are designed to provide assistance for health care costs and medical expenses for those who have difficulty providing for themselves. Having too much in income or assets can disqualify you from eligibility for Medicaid or SSI, so having a solution that won’t cost your loved one in other benefits is essential.

A special needs trust starts with creating a trust document, where the creator of the trust (the grantor) transfers property to the trust and someone (the trustee) who manages that trust on behalf of your disabled loved one (the beneficiary).

Once the trust is signed and notarized, it is valid and in effect. The trust is now ready to be funded and this can include a number of sources of money or assets. The parent is not the only person who can fund a trust; in fact, you don’t even have to be family to contribute to a trust. You can donate business interest, stocks, real estate, collections, jewelry, money and other assets to the trust.

These assets that are contributed to the trust can be used for nearly anything designed to improve the quality of life for the beneficiary – provided it’s not illegal! Medical costs, health care, assisted living or caregiving, purchased items, vacations, travel, services or utilities.

While you could in fact setup a basic trust on your own, it is strongly recommended that you involved an attorney in your planning and creation of the trust to ensure that it fits your specific situation. General forms aren’t usually able to cover the intricacies or details of your unique situation.

The Law Offices of Dan Kellogg can assist you in the creating of a special needs trust so that you can ensure that your disabled parent, child or relative is cared for properly. We believe that with the help of our team, you’ll be able to protect your assets and direct them to ensure the financial future of your loved one in instances where they are unable to manage it for themselves. To schedule an appointment with of our trained and experienced attorneys, contact us online or by calling (425) 227-8700.