Most Florida parents approach estate planning with their children in mind. Whether they are selecting guardians for their minor children or working out an inheritance for their adult kids, leaving behind a legacy is important. That legacy becomes even more important for parents of children with special needs. In these situations, a trust might be especially useful.
Adults with special needs often have additional needs and expenses, including things like treatment, specialized medical care and even fees for residential facilities. For parents who have the means to completely cover their children's future needs, leaving everything in a discretionary trust can be an effective option. A trustee would be in charge of distributing both an income and some principal on behalf of the child, the beneficiary. However, most parents do not have enough stashed away to cover all of their children's needs.
A special needs trust can be a good solution for parents who want to help provide for their children without cutting off their access to government benefits. Most government benefits cut off at a certain income level. A special needs trust does not count as income and anything paid out of the trust will be in addition to their benefits. So for an adult who has their housing and other basic needs met by government benefits, funds from a special needs trust can help provide them with additional support and even a few fun extras in life.
Planning for the future is rarely easy, but it is not impossible. Parents in Florida who have children with special needs are generally well-advised to plan as early on as possible for their children's future financial well-being. Whether this means using a discretionary trust or a special needs trust will depend on parents' financial capabilities and whether the children receive government benefits.