Are you the parent of a child with special needs? Are you concerned about how to take care of him or her or how he or she will manage your assets after you are gone? Numerous parents in New York who have children with disabilities have these concerns, so you are not alone.

There are estate planning steps you can take to help ease your anxiety. For example, putting assets in a special needs trust may provide the protections you want for your child and your estate.

What is the purpose of a special needs trust?

If your child is not able to manage his or her finances without assistance, passing assets directly to him or her may not make a lot of sense. If you put your assets in a special needs trust, you will have the ability to assign a trustee who will be responsible for managing the estate for your child.

Will my child keep his or her government assistance?

Unfortunately, it does not take a lot for a disabled person to lose his or her government disability benefits, so it is understandable that this may be a concern. If you pass your assets directly to your child, he or she may lose his or her government assistance. If you put your assets in a trust, however — as the child does not control or have direct access to any funds or property — his or her eligibility for assistance is likely to remain intact.

How do I set up a special needs trust?

Creating a trust of this sort is not necessarily easy to do. Not only must you follow state-specific guidelines, but the wording used in the document is also very important. To avoid errors that could end up costing your child down the road, it is wise to consult an estate planning attorney who can assist you in setting up your special needs trust.

Have any more questions?

It is difficult to figure out exactly what you need to protect your child and your assets in the event of your death. It is okay to ask more questions to help you figure it out. A legal professional will be able to address your concerns, review your situation, and walk you through the estate planning options that will best suit your needs and the needs of your special needs child.