Central PA Premier Family Law Firm

Protecting special needs kids with special needs trusts

Many Pennsylvania residents have minor or adult children who have special needs. These kids receive benefits from the government that help pay for medical care and living expenses -- among other things. If children with special needs are left inheritances in standard wills that are to be paid out in full or in large increments, this could cause them to lose their government benefits. Parents can protect their special needs children by putting assets to be passed to their children in special needs trusts.

When assets are placed in a trust for a special needs child, a trustee is responsible for making sure the child receives distributions in a certain way. Usually, cash is not given directly to the beneficiary. Instead, the trustee uses the assets to purchase whatever the beneficiary is needing. This ensures the child does not receive funds directly to their own bank account that would put his or her government benefits in jeopardy.

Choosing a trustee is not always an easy job. One needs to make sure it is a person who is trustworthy and capable of handling the responsibility. The trustee can be a family member, close family friend or even an agency that offers such services.

When creating special needs trusts, how they are worded matters. Any error in wording can end up costing the beneficiary substantially in the long run. An estate planning attorney who has experience with special needs trusts can help Pennsylvania residents set up their trusts in a way to ensure their special needs children are fully protected.