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Special needs trusts

Trusts come in many shapes and sizes, each with their own specific purposes, advantages and restrictions. The crux of making the most of any form of trust is understanding exactly what you need, and how each form of trust may be able to most help you achieve your goals. One form of trust with a very specific purpose is a special needs trust.

A special needs trust is intended to help provide for the ongoing care of an individual who is unable to care for themselves. This will almost always mean that the trust will be involved in the ongoing care of the needful individual for the rest of his or her life, and therefore the appointment of a capable and trustworthy trustee is extremely important.

One of the primary benefits of employing a special needs trust is the opportunity to provide for the care of an individual without disqualifying that person from receiving government benefits by giving them property directly. Government benefits are usually issued based on a person's income and assets, so if a parent were to leave a special needs child a large inheritance, or even something as simple as a home, the value of the gift may disqualify the child from receiving vital government assistance.

It is also common for a special needs trust to be set up on behalf of a person who has been injured in order to best handle a settlement from the injury. In this way, the settlement can go further toward the recovery and care of the injured party by working in tandem with government assistance benefits.

If you are considering forming a trust, a lawyer with experience in forming all kinds of trusts can help you avoid common pitfalls and ensure that you create the right document for your own needs.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Special Needs Trusts FAQ's," accessed Nov. 17, 2016

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