You want to make sure that your loved ones are safe and well, and for those family members who have special needs, you may have to take a few extra precautions. In the case of special needs estate planning, there are a few trust options available.
To select the best trust possible, it is important to understand what they entail. There are three types of special needs trust to consider:
A self-settled trust is a trust that is set up only for the benefit of the disabled individual and contains property the individual owns directly. Some of the common types of assets that such trusts manage include:
- Personal injury settlements
- Life insurance monies
There are different types of self-settled trusts that parties may utilize, and either the individual or a family member may establish the trust. However, for it to work in alignment with federal and state regulations, it must meet certain stipulations.
Family members of individuals with special needs may establish third party trusts to provide for the individual's needs. A trustee manages the trust and distributes funds to cover the needs and some desires of the individual, such as:
- Personal services
- Professional fees
- Classes and hobbies
The disabled individual does not have direct access to the trust. The fund distributions go directly to covering the fees, they cannot serve as cash gifts.
A pooled trust allows various family members and loved ones to contribute to one trust for an individual. The family members or the individual with special needs may establish the trust, and then others may contribute to it.
Whichever option individuals choose, it is critical they understand and follow the set regulations for special needs trust in New Jersey. It may also be beneficial to speak with a knowledgeable attorney to determine the best option in the situation.