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In general, planning by parents who have children with special needs can be very challenging.  How do you leave funds for their care?  How do you make sure that the funds are well-managed?  How much should you leave your special child to sustain him/her over his/her lifetime?  If you have other children, how do you make sure that they are not over-burdened with caring for their sibling with special needs?  What is fair in terms of distributing your estate between your child with special needs and your other children? 

If you have a special needs child, you do not need to set up a special needs trust.  All the above issues can be dealt with in your estate plan without the need of a special needs trust.  However, if your child is currently receiving benefits from the state such as SSI and more importantly, Medi-Cal and may need to rely on these benefits in the future, then you need to consider setting up a special needs trust for that child to ensure that s/he won’t lose those important public benefits. 

The trust can be created in 2 ways: as part of their living trust which comes into being upon the death of the last surviving parent, or as a separate “standalone” trust which is created and funded during the parent(s)’ lifetime(s).
We have the expertise to assist you in deciding how best to set up your special needs trust for your child as well as provide guidance based upon our experience of dealing with those questions raised earlier such as how best to provide for your other children when planning for your special child.

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