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Special Needs Trust management

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  • Special Needs Trust management

    I established a special needs trust for my current 8 yo child with autism and trying to determine the best way to manage it. It is currently not funded. My general plan was to care for him with our own money while we are alive and have the fund as beneficiary of our accounts on our passing. Is there a better strategy?

    My father has also expressed interest in supporting the trust and has money earmarked for it. What is the best strategy for that? I was thinking to open a brokerage account with it as the beneficiary rather than under the trust to maintain flexibility? But on his passing the trust will be funded requiring paying taxes and assuming my wife and I are still living will hopefully not be needed.

    Any thoughts or advice would be much appreciated

    Thank you

  • #2
    Welcome to the forum! I regret having to say this, but I believe getting appropriate answers to your questions are beyond the scope of an anonymous online forum (even this one!). Not saying I/we are avoiding being helpful, but that you need help and advice from an atty/CPA/CF: who are very knowledgeable about your situation, finances, goals, etc. There are so many unknowns in this fact pattern and so many options for determining what is appropriate given your current/future finances, principles, etc.

    I am sure you already have a team (CPA/CFP/SN attorney) who are working in conjunction with your family to develop an appropriate and meaningful plan. If not and/or if you d/n trust their advice, please interview and get rec’s for pro’s you can trust and who have the necessary level of experience and philosophy. I am sorry not to be more helpful - perhaps others can step in and provide the advice I am struggling to come up with. Good luck!
    Working to protect good doctors from bad advisors. Fox & Co CPAs, Fox & Co Wealth Mgmt. 270-247-6087


    • #3
      Welcome to the forum!

      Let's start with this -- who setup the trust? Those that set it up -- didn't they give you guidance on this already to structure the trust appropriately? My concern is you're asking some questions that should have already been addressed with the establishing of the trust. But the short answer is -- yes, can keep the container empty while you're alive and have your living trust roll into that SNT once you (or both) pass or many other possibilities between there.

      If you're looking for others funding your child's finances, the SNT is the vehicle if you're looking to protect medical/support services and avoid clawbacks. -- Lots of stuff to unpack there and worthy of a SNT advisor and Financial planner to get into the weeds.


      • #4
        I agree with the earlier posts. There is a lot of detail involved and much I'd need to know about you and your family before being able to tailor a plan to fit. I can add that the most difficult aspect of maintaining a special needs trust is always having a good trustee to run it. That and how much will eventually be put into it, and when that money will hit, usually starts the discussion and we go from there. These trusts are very actively managed, which can get expensive unless you have really solid family members to rely on to be trustee. Being the trustee of one of these can be very difficult though, depending on the beneficiary (usually it's difficult). Perhaps it'll work fine while you and your spouse can be trustee, but be thinking about what will happen after that too before you fund it somewhat heavily.