Parents of special needs children know that these children can require a little extra care and attention. If you have a special needs child, there are steps you can take to care for your child in the future, today. By creating an estate plan, you can ensure your special needs child’s financial and medical needs are addressed once you pass away. An estate plan not only provides a framework of care and financial security for your special needs child, but it also lifts the potential burden from a loved one or family member who might be tasked with doing this work after you pass away.

At Thomas-Walters, PLLC, our estate planning lawyers have decades of experience with North Carolina estate planning law, and will stop at nothing to ensure your every potential need of your special needs child is addressed in a comprehensive manner before you pass away. We consider not just the needs of your special needs child, but your needs as well, in addition to the needs of any other children you may have.

What Kind Of Estate Plan Should I Create For My Special Needs Child?

One of the most widely-recommended ways to set aside money for a special needs child is to create a trust. Trusts are a smart option, and a wise estate planning tool, as money is a trust that will not jeopardize your child’s eligibility for receiving government assistance like Medicaid or other benefits.

The money in a trust belongs to the trust, technically, not the special needs individual. For this reason, the money in the trust will not keep the special needs child from receiving assistance they may need in the future. There are many different types of trusts that you can choose depending on what is best for you and your loved ones. Your estate planning attorney will help you discern which trust is the best for your family and special needs child.

What Is A Pooled Special Needs Trust?

A pooled special needs trust pools, or combines, many resources from more than one beneficiary into one single trust. The trust is then managed and administered by a nonprofit organization. Every beneficiary in a pooled trust will be designated their own sub-account. They’ll typically get a share of the pooled trust’s earnings, an amount that is proportionate to others. The assets that are used to find this sub-account must be owned by another person. When the special needs beneficiary dies, their assets revert to the nonprofit.

What is A First Party Trust?

This type of trust is intended for assets that, if the trust were not created, would otherwise be directly received by your special needs child. In a first party trust, this trust doles out assets or money on behalf of the beneficiary, which is useful for some families. In a first party trust, there is no restriction on how the money can be used.

When the beneficiary passes away, any assets or finances that remain in the trust are used to repay the state of North Carolina for any medical assistance that the special needs child received. For some families, this is the optimal option.

What Is A Third Party Special Needs Trust?

A third party special needs trust is another kind of estate planning tool often set up to benefit a special needs child. Proceeds from a parent’s life insurance policy, portfolios of assets or investments, property that generates income, or any other type of asset that does not explicitly belong to the beneficiary, are all assets that can be placed into a third party special needs trust.

When the special needs beneficiary passes away, the assets within the third party trust special needs trust will then transfer back to other designated recipients, and there’s no requirement to pay back any spent funds.

Contact An Estate Planning Attorney Today To Create A Plan For Your Special Needs Child

At Thomas-Walters, PLLC, we have extensive experience helping families like yours create strong financial plans for the future. We are compassionate to those who have special needs children, and understand that it can be worrisome to think about who will care for your child once your gone. By creating an estate plan, you can rest assured that your special needs child will have everything they need in the future.

Schedule your free, no-obligation special needs estate planning consultation with Thomas-Walters, PLLC today. We are confident that we can help you and your loved ones create the estate plan you need to feel confident for your child’s future.