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What Is A Special Needs Trust? | Illinois Supplemental Needs Trusts

Article written by Illinois & Iowa Attorney Kevin O'Flaherty
Updated on
November 1, 2019

Planning for the long-term care of a loved one with special needs requires thought and preparation. The fact is, when it comes to the future needs of a family member with a disability, the possibility that they may outlive you is something that must be considered, especially when the individual is a minor or adult child. Preparations include estimating possible future care-giving costs, as well as making sure all assets are managed properly to best benefit your loved one.

​Special protection when you need it most

‍Sometimes families neglect inheritance issues for special needs family members because they assume siblings or other related caregivers will simply step in and take over the care giving duties should the need arise. Even if families have reached an agreement on care giving responsibilities, it is still important to address the management and division of assets and to have your preferences clearly and legally defined. You also want to be sure you understand all of the legal guidelines so that your loved one with special needs does not lose benefits from government sources. For instance, many people are not aware that with Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a single disabled person cannot own more than $2,000 in assets. One component you might consider when setting up your long-term financial plan is the establishment of a “Special Needs Trust” funded with a form of life insurance.

‍A “Special Needs Trust” is established to ensure that the disabled individual’s inheritance will supplement, not replace, any government assistance programs they may be eligible for. Aspects of a “Special Needs Trust” include:

  • ‍Appointing someone to take care of your loved one’s property and money.
  • Designating a guardian for children less than 18 years of age.
  • Integrating the wishes spelled out in the trust with the remainder of the parent’s estate plan.

Get the help you need now for future peace of mind.

‍A “Special Needs Trust” is just one tool that can help you address financial issues making life much easier for your loved one and their future caregivers. With proper planning, your love – and your money – will be set to go the distance. For additional information on “Special Needs Trusts” it’s important to consult with an attorney in your state of residence who specializes in special needs estate planning.

Thank you to Alden Burnett III for contributing this Article.

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