If one of your children is a special needs child, you may wish to consider establishing a Florida special needs trust for him or her. As FindLaw explains, a special needs trust is one that you set up for the benefit of your child, naming him or her the beneficiary of the trust.

You can name yourself as the trust’s trustee, thereby allowing you to continue to maintain complete control over your child’s assets that you place into the trust, including how and when you distribute them for his or her benefit.

Trust assets

You can place whatever assets into the trust that you want, but be sure to place the following into it:

  • The Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, and other monies your child receives on a regular basis
  • Any monetary subsidies (s)he receives for his or her schooling, housing, employment, etc.
  • Any money (s)he inherits or receives as gifts from his or her family members or others
  • Any money (s)he recovers in a lawsuit settlement or judgment
  • Any other income-producing assets you desire

Trust benefits

Remember, once you set up your child’s special needs trust, (s)he no longer owns these assets; the trust does. Consequently your child remains eligible not only for the benefits (s)he receives now, but also any additional ones that may become available to him or her in the future.

Assuming you designate yourself as the trust’s trustee, you should also name a successor trustee to take your place if and when you become unable to act as trustee yourself, such as if you become ill, incapacitated or die.

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.