California is home to many children with special needs. If you are the parent of a special needs child, establishing a special needs trust for them can set your mind at ease that the resources will always be there to provide your child with the care they need, even if you are no longer around to provide that care yourself.

FindLaw explains that you name your special needs child as the beneficiary of the trust. Then you name yourself as the trustee, if you wish, so that you may continue to control your child’s assets just like you do now and distribute them for your child’s needs. You should also, however, name a successor trustee who will assume these responsibilities if and when you no longer can.

Trust assets

While you can place any assets you wish into your child’s special needs trust, most parents include the following:

  • The Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid or other monies your child currently receives
  • The subsidies your child currently receives, such as for schooling, housing, employment, etc.
  • Any inheritances or gifts your child receives
  • Any court judgments or lawsuit settlements your child receives

Remember, when you put these and other assets into your child’s special needs trust, they no longer own them; the trust does. The advantage here is that this assures their continuing eligibility not only for the benefits they now receive, but also any for which they may become eligible for at any time in the future.

Additional trust benefits

In addition to the huge benefit of allowing your special needs child to remain eligible for governmental benefits, the special needs trust remains in effect throughout your child’s life. This gives you peace of mind that his or her future needs will always be met, even after your death. You can also designate in the trust the name of the person or facility you want to care for your child after your death or if you can no longer care for them yourself due to age, illness, disability or more.

While you should not take this information as legal advice, it can help you understand what a special needs trust is and how establishing one can benefit you and your child.