Why Is The Choice Of A Trustee For Special Needs Trusts So Critical?
The choice of a trustee to manage the special needs trust is quite important. This should be a person in charge, who understands the requirements of the special needs person and is attentive in taking care of those needs.
In terms of trustee structures, this person could often be a close family member or friend who knows the child and knows what the needs are. It could also be an institutional trustee, such as a bank or a trust company if there are larger amounts of money to manage. In cases where the amount in the special needs trust is small, it is really not economical for the trustee to be an institutional trustee or a person who has to be paid a fee. In this case, a pooled trust should be used where a trustee, typically a state agency, would serve as trustee without compensation.
What Factors Should Someone Consider When Selecting A Trustee For A Special Needs Trust?
The primary factor in special needs trustee selection is to select a person who knows the child, understand what the child’s needs are, and who is attentive in making sure those needs are addressed.
What Are The Limits Of A Beneficiary’s Authority In Regards To A Special Needs Trust?
The beneficiary does not really have any authority over the special needs trust. The authority over the special needs trust would be exercised solely by the trustee.
What Happens If The Special Needs Child Passes Away Before The Trust’s Funds Are Depleted?
The trust would have a provision in it that would tell the trustee where the remaining funds are to be distributed at the death of the special needs child. For example, the provision might say that the remaining funds should be distributed to the special needs child’s brothers and sisters.
How Can Funds Be Spent With A Special Needs Trust?
Funds from a special needs trust can be spent by the trustee for any purpose that public assistance benefits will not provide for. For example, public assistance benefits may provide living arrangements, food and shelter for a special needs child. Public assistance benefits would not, however, provide for some of the other things that would greatly enhance the quality of the child’s life; such as traveling to visit family, paying to send the child to a special needs camp, and the like. These are the things funds in the special needs trust can be used to provide.
How To Ensure Funds Established For The Special Needs Child Are Not Wasted Or Mishandled?
By the selection of an appropriate trustee who is responsible, understands the requirements and needs of the child, and will ensure the funds in the special needs trust will be appropriately expended for the care of that child.
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