If you have never heard of a special needs trust but have a special needs child, you need to know that setting up this kind of a trust for the benefit of your child may well be one of the best things you ever do for him or her.

FindLaw explains that special needs trusts are easy to establish. Your attorney can draft one for you that abides by all Ohio laws and meets all of its requirements.

Trust structure

Basically, you name your special needs child the beneficiary of the trust. You likely will want to name yourself as the trustee so you can continue to manage its assets for his or her benefit, just as you do now. Be sure to designate a successor trustee, however, who will assume your trustee duties in the event you become injured, ill, incapacitated or when you die. Finally, you place your child’s assets and benefits (s)he currently receives into the trust, including the following:

  • Medicare and/or Medicaid benefits
  • SSI benefits
  • Educational subsidies
  • Employment subsidies
  • Housing subsidies

Trust benefits

One of the major benefits of a special needs trust is that the assets you place in it become owned by the trust itself, not your child. Consequently (s)he remains eligible for additional future benefits for which (s)he might otherwise not qualify because of income and other guidelines.

You can also name the person(s) or facility that you want to care for your child if (s)he outlives you or you can no longer care for him or her due to your age, physical condition, etc.

Remember, since your child is the sole beneficiary of his or her special needs trust, all trust income and assets must be disbursed for his or her benefit. (S)he will therefore have the funds (s)he needs to provide her with the care and quality of life (s)he needs and deserves.