Planning for special needs grandchildren, or other relative other than your own child, in your estate plan is a great way to help provide for their future once you are gone. However, it needs to be done the right way. People with special needs are often dependent, either now or later in life, on government assistance to pay for their important basic needs. By leaving money directly to them, you could potentially and inadvertently cause them to be disqualified from their much needed government funding.
In this Estate Planning Minute, Wes Coulson, Southern Illinois Elder Law attorney, discusses the Dos and Don’ts for providing for special needs grandchildren in an estate plan and why setting up a Special Needs Trust may be your best option.
Providing For Special Needs Grandchildren in an Estate Plan
Hi, I’m Wes Coulson and this is your Estate Planning Minute. I want to talk about some of the “Dos and Don’ts” for providing for a special needs grandchild, or other relative other than your own child.
First, the “Don’ts.” Don’t leave money or a share of the estate outright. Special needs people are often dependent, either now or later in life, on government assistance to pay for their important basic needs, and most of those programs, if you have money in your name that will disqualify you. So, literally, you can do more harm than good by leaving the money directly.
What you want to do instead is to provide for that family member through something called a Special Needs Trust. That’s going to benefit them without interfering for eligibility. Now, if you’re saying, “Well, it would cost a lot for me to have a Special Needs set up for that grandchild as part of my estate plan,” let me offer a practical suggestion there. First, if the child’s parents have a Special Needs Trust set up for them, then you can just say, “I leave this money to the Special Needs Trust that they’ve set up. If they don’t have one set up, then a wonderful gift could be to say, “You know, you need a Special Needs Trust for your child and, gift from me to you, I’ll pay for it.” Thanks.
For more information on Special Needs Planning, visit these articles:
- Asset Preservation Planning and Adult Special Needs Children
- The 9 Most Common Mistakes in Special Needs Planning
- The Advantages of a “Stand Alone” Special Needs Trust
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Coulson Elder Law is dedicated to providing families in the St. Louis area with their Elder Law needs. Our practice areas include Asset Preservation Planning, Veterans Benefits, Medicaid Eligibility, Alzheimer’s Planning, Special Needs Planning, Estate Planning and more. We understand the financial challenges you may face as you and your loved ones grow older. At Coulson Elder Law, our clients’ well-being is our number one priority. For immediate help, call (877)995-6876 or Contact Us and we will get in touch as soon as possible.