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Building up the funds for a special needs trust

On Behalf of | Nov 14, 2022 | Estate planning |

You have thought long and hard about this: how to fund a special needs trust and how much you need to have. The odds are great that you and your spouse will outlive your adult child with special needs who require 24-hour care.

The two of you have managed with some sacrifice and help from other family members and friends. But you need to create a long-term plan based on the life expectancy of your child and what level of care he needs.

Funds for housing, equipment and training

The amount you need in a special needs trust all depends of the circumstances of your situation. There is no set amount, but a solid special needs trust likely should range from $200,000 to $1 million. The reason for such high amounts is that a special needs trust may have to last 30 to 40 years.

There will be many expenses with the largest likely being housing for a private group home or even a condominium. Other expenses may include:

  • Staffing: This may include nurses, caregivers and medical support staff.
  • Medical expenses: Your child will continue to need regular check-ups and treatment for illnesses and ailments.
  • Therapy: Physical and occupational therapy may continue to play a regular role in your child’s life.
  • Equipment: Ranging from a wheelchair, scooter and specialized van to adaptive desk and hearing aids
  • Education costs: This may include a vocational school or a public university.
  • Computers and electronics: Your child may need these devices to help communicate and help with daily living activities.
  • Training: Your child may need training related to daily living skills and even employment opportunities.
  • Guardianship costs: The chosen guardian will need money to guide your child.

A special needs trust also must be properly done to allow the child to continue to receive public benefits, which will offset some of these costs. As a result, your child may still obtain benefits such as Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Plan, act and be realistic

As the parent of a child with special needs, you have faced numerous challenges. Creating and funding a special needs trust represents another challenge. You may have to continue to rely on your friends and family members for investing in the trust. Plan, act and be realistic about your goals.