Properly funded and structured with a responsible adult as trustee, a special needs trust could protect a loved one for life. Whether you have a child with special needs or an adult family member incapable of living independently, a trust can support them without cutting them off from resources like Medicaid.
Providing for a loved one’s basic needs often includes thinking about their housing. Using a house to fund a special needs trust can give a dependent loved one someplace to live while protecting the house from claims by creditors. What do you need to do if you intend to move a house into a trust for a beneficiary with special needs?
Create rules for the property
You don’t want to fund wild parties, leave a child open to financial abuse or give someone a space to do blatantly illegal things either. Including restrictions in the special needs trust regarding the use of the home can prevent certain kinds of misbehavior and protect your loved one from predatory individuals.
Provide for routine expenses, including maintenance
Just having a house in the trust doesn’t mean that someone with special needs can afford all the costs associated with homeownership. They may also require help paying for property insurance, taxes and maintenance.
The need to set aside money for insurance, taxes and property repairs or maintenance is very important. Most homeowners spend more than $3,000 a year in maintenance and improvements to their homes, in addition to their utilities, tax and insurance costs.
Name a trustee who will keep an eye on things
Having a home doesn’t always lead to the ability to live independently. An adult or child with special needs may still require support and oversight. The right trustee for your estate plan can help protect both the property and your loved one living in the property both now and after your death.
Integrating the right protections into your special needs trust will make it as beneficial as possible for your vulnerable loved one.