One of the toughest issues when planning for a child with special needs is trying to calculate the amount of money it’s going to take to provide both while the parents are alive and after the parents pass away.
Kiplinger’s recent article asks “How Much Should Go into Your Special Needs Trust?” The article explains that it’s not uncommon for folks to have done some estate planning, but not necessarily special needs estate planning. Often, they haven’t thought about how much money they should earmark to fund that trust someday and which assets would be the best to use.
Special needs estate planning involves creating a special needs trust that allows a person with a disability to continue to receive certain public benefits. Typically, ownership of assets more than $2,000 would make the individual ineligible for certain needs-based public benefits. Assets held in a special needs trust don’t count toward this amount.
A child with special needs can generate multiple expenses. The precise amount will be based on the needs and lifestyle of the family and the child’s capabilities.
When the parents die, this budget usually must be increased because the things the parents did must be monetized.
Although there are exceptions, a special needs trust usually isn’t funded until the parents’ death. Then, the trust would need to file a tax return each year and pay taxes.
There are also legal and trust administration expenses to think about. Public program benefits can sometimes offset many of the above-mentioned costs.
It’s vital to conduct a complete analysis of the future costs to provide for a child with special needs so that parents can start saving sooner and making adjustments in their planning.
Speak with an elder law or estate planning attorney about special needs trusts.
Reference: Kiplinger (June 10, 2019) “How Much Should Go into Your Special Needs Trust?”