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How do I leave money to my child without jeopardizing his SSI?

If you have a child with a disability, whether cognitive or physical or both, and you have relatively significant assets that you want to leave to them when you die, you may need to set up a special needs trust.

The special needs trust was designed specifically to assist those who are disabled and who are bequeathed tangible assets. The benefit of this type of trust is that as long as the distribution of funds is orchestrated correctly by the trustee, it will not jeopardize your child's eligibility to receive important government benefits such as Social Security Income and Medicaid, or even subsidized housing and vocational rehabilitation. As long as the trustee uses the money to make purchases for the disabled child, your child can remain qualified for government help.

When you choose a trustee to administer the funds, it is important to choose carefully. Obviously, you want someone you trust implicitly, as they will have access to the assets you intend for your special needs child. If you fail to appoint an administer of the trust, the court can appoint one.

If you have a child who is impaired mentally or physically, and you want to explore the options you have to protect them long after you have departed from this world, you may want to seek out the counsel of an attorney. A Florida estate planning attorney could explain the caveats of the various types of wills and trusts and prove vital in arranging lasting care for your special needs child.

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