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Elder Planning Isn't Just For The Elderly

What is a special needs trust?

You may be the kind of person who is always on top of things. Let’s say you are good at planning. Even so, you worry about your child. Having a child with special needs can be difficult, and planning for his or her feature can be overwhelming.

When you plan for a child with special needs, the decisions are heavy. In fact, the financial choices you make today could have lifelong ramifications. The good news is that you can supplement Medicaid benefits by creating a special needs trust. The funds of such trust can be used in the future to finance your child’s individual expenses. This tool is effective without compromising your child’s eligibility for government benefits.

Third-party trust

Special needs trusts come in a few forms, but a third-party trust can be used if you want to supplement what your child already receives through a government program. With a special needs trust, you can add money over time or fund it with estate proceeds and life insurance. As long as the money benefits your child in need, trust funds can be used for almost anything. Moreover, funds can provide special care that is not available through government programs.

According to New York law, your child can qualify for both government assistance and receive benefits from a special needs trust when the following is true:

  • He or she suffers from a persistent disability.
  • The trust is used to supplement – not supplant – government benefits.
  • The trustee(s) will not use the trust in a way that inhibits your child’s right to government assistance.
  • Your child does not have control over the trust.
  • Distributions are at made at the discretion of the trustee(s).

It can be hard planning for your child’s future – especially when he or she will need extra support. If you would like to learn more about a special needs trust or other financial planning tools, speak to a lawyer in your area.


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