Special Needs Planning


Raising a child with special needs does not take a special family. It makes a family special.

We understand that future care planning for a child with special needs is often a difficult step for parents to take, which is why we do everything we can to make the process as easy as possible.

Our mission is to liberate parents from the fear they have about their child’s future and empower them to make the very best decisions possible about how to protect their special needs child for life.

Our Special Needs Trusts are carefully designed to ensure that the beneficiary is afforded the protection provided by a personalized and well-designed Special Needs Trust.

Special planning must be done to ensure your child has the competent, loving care they need.

If you have a child or a loved one who is disabled or otherwise not able to care for themselves, special planning must be done. When parents fail to plan, they may inadvertently disqualify their child from essential governmental benefits. Without proper guidance, parents often leave their money in ways that do not serve their special needs child and leave them unprotected.

Frequently asked questions

If you have a child or other loved one with special needs, you may want to establish a special needs trust. A special needs trust is an estate planning tool that can help you provide for the needs of an individual who is disabled without jeopardizing his or her eligibility for government benefits. We can help you establish and administer this type of trust.

Although there are many types of special needs trusts, they fall into two general categories: the third-party special needs trust, which is funded with assets belonging to someone other than the beneficiary; and the self-settled trust, which is funded with assets belonging to the beneficiary.

In many cases, a special needs trust is established, but not funded, while the parent or other creator is alive. Upon the parent’s death, their will transfers the child’s portion of an inheritance to the special needs trust.The trust (instead of the child) can also be designated as the beneficiary of various assets, such as employee benefits and life insurance policies. Like other trusts, it is typically funded by life insurance, investments, retirements, 401Ks, etc.

Funds from a special needs trust cannot be distributed directly to a beneficiary and must be disbursed to a third-party who’s responsible for administering the trust. Given this, when you initially set up the trust, you’ll likely be both the “grantor” (trust creator) and “trustee” (the person responsible for managing the trust), and your child with special needs is the trust’s “beneficiary.”

You’ll then name the person you want responsible for administering the trust’s funds once you’re no longer able to as “successor trustee.” To avoid conflicts of interest, overburdening the named guardian with too much responsibility, and provide checks and balances, it can sometimes be best to name someone other than your child’s guardian as trustee.

As the parent, you serve as the trustee until you die or become incapacitated, at which time the successor trustee takes over. Each person who serves as trustee is legally required to follow the trust’s terms and use its funds and property for the benefit of the individual with special needs.

And in all cases, you should name a series of successor trustees, which can even be a bank, trust company, or other professional fiduciary, as backups to your primary named trustee.