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All parents want to protect and provide for their children. When a child has special needs, however, a parent's concerns about a child's wellbeing and security are often more urgent and all-encompassing.

If you are the parent of a child who has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, autism or some other disability; it's important to take steps to provide for his or her current and future needs.

What Is A Special Needs Trust?

Like all trusts, a special needs trust is funded with assets or property of which at least one individual is the beneficiary. A special needs trust is unique in that it is established specifically to benefit an individual whose disability impedes his or her ability to manage and tend to financial matters.

Why Do I Need A Special Needs Trust?

If your child has special needs you may have questions and concerns about how to provide for his or her future needs including living accommodations, day-to-day care and transportation. Some of these needs may be partially provided for under certain state and federal benefits programs, most of which have strict income limit eligibility requirements.

By establishing a special needs trust, a parent can not only ensure for a child's future financial, physical, medical and emotional needs; but also do so while preserving his or her eligibility for government assistance programs like Social Security disability and Medicaid.

How Can I Establish A Special Needs Trust?

All trusts must be drafted to include certain language and abide by specific requirements. Due to the complexity and important purpose that a trust serves, it's important not to leave anything to chance. It's wise, therefore to reach out to an estate planning attorney for assistance. An attorney can answer questions, provide advice and ensure that a trust meets your family's needs and long-term goals.

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