A special needs trust can be the most important thing in the world when you have a child with special needs. Taking care of a child with special needs can be incredibly expensive. It’s a difficult experience, though one that is filled with love and joy. But the reality is that in order to maintain the care a special needs child requires, it will take careful planning in order to achieve.

That’s why we’re going to look at an important part of any special needs plan: a special needs trust. Not sure what a special needs plan is? We’ll briefly begin with them so we can see how a special needs trust plays a vital role. Then we’ll look at how special needs trusts work in action. Finally, we’ll use this to figure out when you should set up a special needs trust in Cedar Rapids.

What Is a Special Needs Plan?

A special needs plan has a lot in common with elder planning or estate planning in that it is a guiding plan that helps you to ensure that everything is in order. Essentially, a special needs plan makes use of trusts and sets out details on guardianships in order to help protect the financial resources necessary to look after a special needs child and to ensure that they have an appointed guardian should something happen to you.

Creating a special needs plan is a very personal experience because each child and family will have their own needs and concerns. This means that there is no one outline to follow when putting together a special needs plan, rather it should and will be tailored around your specific desires. However, the end goal remains the same: to ensure that your beloved child is secure.

An important aspect of a special needs plan is the special needs trust. This is what helps you to optimize the healthcare they receive and ensure a higher quality of life for your loved one. It will help in improving their eligibility for things like housing programs, food programs, educational programs, and more. So let’s turn our attention over to how a special needs trust functions.

How Does a Special Needs Trust Work?

A special needs trust functions similarly to a regular trust. You can put money into it in order to be used towards a specific goal. It offers protections against debtors. It also helps to reduce how much money the child is shown to have each month. This can be extremely helpful for getting into programs, more on that in a moment.

Special needs trusts tend to be funded primarily by their own estates. However, there are also life insurance policies and annuities that can be used for funding. Setting up a special needs trust is a process of rearranging your assets in the manner that will facilitate your ability to provide and gain access to resources that can make all the difference in the world.

Perhaps the most important aspect of a special needs trust is that it will allow you, or rather your child, to qualify for programs that can go a long way to offsetting the cost of living. Food and housing programs help to ensure that basic needs are met. Educational programs help your child to access education designed for people with their unique minds, which often focus strongly on emotional and social development instead of the rote memorization of traditional schooling. There are even programs that can help to aid in transportation to help alleviate costs in yet another way.

Accessing programs like these is extremely important. But in many cases, it simply would not be possible without first going through the trouble of setting up a special needs trust. It might sound like a daunting task, but don’t worry. It’s much easier than it sounds when you work with a knowledgeable attorney that can work with you at the pace you’re capable of.

When Should I Set Up a Special Needs Trust?

Honestly speaking, you should set up a special needs trust as soon as you discover that your child has special needs. This may seem drastic but the simple reality is that the sooner you have one, the sooner you can start to benefit from programs and this can help to make life easier.

However, please don’t think that means you missed your chance if you’ve been taking care of a child with special needs for years already. Just because you haven’t started one yet doesn’t mean you’re too late. All it means is that you are starting at a later point. There is absolutely no reason not to start setting one up today.

Though one problem that a lot people run into is the question of how they will fund it. But you can supplement the money you put into a special needs trust with various benefits like Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income. You can take out life insurance to be payable to the trust after you pass to ensure support continues even after you’re gone. Savings and investments like retirement accounts can be put towards it. There are a lot of options but the best way to discover them is to speak with an attorney that can look at your specific information and provide you with answers.

Is an Attorney Necessary to Set Up a Special Needs Trust?

Necessary? No, you could do this on your own.

But the best way to ensure that your special needs trust is set up properly, in the manner that will ensure the most benefits for your child, an attorney is sure to be a great help. Rather than sort through a couple hundred confusing websites that seem to contradict each other at every other turn, you can rely on the professional knowledge of your attorney to provide you with the proper information you need to make the decisions that will affect your child in the best possible way.