Parents of autistic children face daily struggles in caring for their offspring. Kids with special needs often find themselves reliant on Medicaid and other government assistance programs. However, they have other options in the form of special needs trusts (SNT), a vital step, particularly as parents get older and eventually pass away.
Regardless of who established the trust, that individual must act continually in the beneficiary’s best interests. Specific responsibilities go beyond providing the necessary funding, including knowledge of federal and state rules in the application process and ensuring taxes are paid.
Establishment and management
Established by parents or guardians, an SNT provides financial support for an autistic child. Essentially, the funds are the property of the trust only. Those assets are not a factor when it comes to being eligible for financial help, not to mention Medicaid. Additional benefits include decision-making power in naming a trustee who must act in the child’s best interests.
Certain considerations go into establishing the SNT, starting with the desired quality of life for the child and the length of the SNT providing financial support. Loved ones can control it, while other scenarios involve a third party. Finally, if the child passes while the trust is active, decisions must be made as to where the assets go.
The decision to establish trust requires a thoughtful approach. The legal process that leads to an agreement impacts the child’s life after a parent or parents pass away. Ensuring that all aspects of the trust match your wishes and the child’s best interests is vital.