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What Is A Special Needs Trust And Who Qualifies?

In the beginning, all parents share the same worries: will my child be good to others? Will other children be good to mine?

As time goes on, parents of special needs children discover a whole new world of worry that many other parents never have to experience: will my child be able to live independently? Will my child be able to earn an income? Who will take care of my child when I am gone?

These are questions that haunt parents in the wee hours of the night.

Thankfully, there is a way to set aside money for their care.

What Is A Special Needs Trust?

A person with a documented disability is eligible for government-funded long-term care benefits. Examples of these benefits include Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Medicaid and Medicare. These benefits are intended to be used for living expenses such as care, housing and food.

A special needs trust exists to protect the beneficiary from being disqualified for government-funded benefits in the event that they receive an inheritance or an infusion of assets. More on that here.

Who Qualifies To Be The Beneficiary Of A Special Needs Trust?

To qualify, the beneficiary must meet the following minimum requirements.

  • Be under the age of 65
  • Have a medical condition that meets your state's disability definition

If this sounds like something that would be helpful, it is worth your energy to look into further. An experienced estate planner will know the ins and outs of special needs trusts as well as the state-specific laws governing them.

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