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Using a Special Needs Trust to Provide for a Child With Autism

 Posted on January 09,2023 in Estate Planning

Texas estate planning lawyerAs the term "Autism Spectrum Disorder" implies, autism exists on a spectrum. Some individuals with autism may require minimal support, while others require substantial assistance with decision-making and everyday life activities. If you have a child with autism, a special needs trust (SNT) is an important tool that can help ensure their financial security into adulthood.

A special needs trust allows you to set aside funds that are used exclusively for the benefit of your child without impacting his or her eligibility for government benefits. This blog will explain the fundamentals of a special needs trust as well as the unique benefits it may provide to families with autistic children. 

Basics of a Special Needs Trust 

A trust is a legal document that defines how assets are to be managed and distributed. A special needs trust is specifically designed for individuals with disabilities, such as autism, who receive government benefits like Supplemental Security Income (SSI). 

A special needs trust or supplemental needs trust can be established by a family member or friend, or through a court-appointed guardian. The trust assets must be used only for the benefit of the individual with autism. This means that your child can use the funds to cover living expenses and other needs-based items, such as medical care, adaptive equipment, and special education programs. The trust can also be used for recreation and leisure activities, which may include vacations or hobbies. 

Advantages of Using a Trust to Transfer Funds to a Disabled Person

Most needs-based government assistance programs have a strict income and asset limit. If a disabled individual receives assets or money directly through a will, their eligibility for those programs may be jeopardized. 

One of the primary benefits of a special needs trust is that it provides financial resources to an individual without reducing that person's eligibility for Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The funds are technically owned by the trust, not the disabled person, so the money does not count against them. 

Contact a Denton County Special Needs Trust Lawyer

Transferring assets directly to a disabled person may reduce his or her chances of getting government benefits. If you have a child with autism or another disability, consider using a special needs trust to provide the financial resources he or she needs.

Flower Mound estate planning attorney Stephen Colbert can help you create a comprehensive estate plan that is personalized to your unique situation. Call our office today at 972-724-3338 and set up a confidential consultation. 



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