Today’s Article on "Planning for Your Adult Children With Special Needs Can Also Protect Your Assets From Nursing Home Costs"

dpollexDagmar M. Pollex, Esq.
Law Offices of Dagmar M. Pollex, P.C.
Braintree, Massachusetts  02184
Member of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance, Massachusetts chapter

Planning for Your Adult Children With Special Needs Can Also Protect Your Assets From Nursing Home Costs

Parents and grandparents of an adult disabled child often ask what’s the best way to make provisions for that member of the family who will not be able to be self-sufficient. Parents generally try to consider the future non-financial needs of the child after the parents are gone.  With whom or where will the child live?  What housing options or assistance are available?  What activities does the child enjoy? Next, there is a need to estimate the future financial needs of the child, taking into account projected government assistance.

When the parents of disabled children think about a financial and estate plan, they plan for their own future, as well as the child’s.  Parents with disabled children understand the need to protect their own savings from risks during their lives.  Nursing home costs pose a threat to every estate.

Luckily, the Medicaid rules offer important special protections for parents of disabled children by allowing gifts to be made to supplemental needs trusts for the benefit of adult children with disabilities. These gifts do not create a disqualification or penalty period for the parents if they will need nursing home care for themselves in the future.

Another important question is this. How will the parents’ estate be allocated to reach the goals they have for themselves and their child?  They may consider leaving a larger share for the disabled child who has greater need than the other children.

However, this is generally not a good option if government benefits may be needed, since most government assistance requires the recipient to have very low income, very low assets, or both. An outright bequest to the child or a trust which gives the child too much ownership over the money will disqualify the child from government assistance until the child spends down the trust assets.

As part of their overall estate planning, parents of special needs children can have a portion (or all) of their estate stay in a trust for the benefit of their disabled child after they die.

The assets will be managed by a Trustee chosen by the parents. In some situations, a brother or sister of the child with special needs is a good choice. Other times, it would be better to name a professional trustee with experience in managing special needs trusts and providing services to the beneficiary.

The trust should be drafted so as to not disqualify the child from government assistance.  This kind of a trust is called a supplemental or special needs trust.  The parents can include guidance or legally binding directives about how the money is to be used for the child.

Even small amounts in a special needs trust can make a huge difference in the quality of life of a disabled child.  For example, while the child’s basic needs could be met with government assistance, the trust could be used to provide “extras” like a television, a trip to visit relatives or tickets for relatives to visit the child, a special van, or computer with voice-recognition technology.

Recent Posts

Stay in Touch with Elder Care Matters

 Facebook  Twitter  Google Plus  Linked  Blogger

eNewsletter Sign Up

ElderCare Answers

If you need answers to your elder care questions, send your questions to us at:

Answers are provided by our ElderCare Matters Partners, some of America's TOP Elder Care Professionals who have years of experience in helping families plan for and deal with a wide range of Elder Care / Senior Care Services.

All Q&A's are posted on the homepage of

ElderCare Matters Articles

ElderCare Matters Articles are useful and up-to-date Elder Care / Senior Care articles that are provided by our ElderCare Matters Partners to help you plan for and deal with your family's elder care matters.

If you help familes plan for or deal with elder care matters, then you owe it to yourself and to families across America to become a professional member of the National ElderCare Matters Alliance and to be listed on the many Elder Care / Senior Care Directories that are sponsored by this National Alliance of Elder Care Professionals.

For additional information about professional membership in the National ElderCare Matters Alliance, (including the many benefits of becoming one of our ElderCare Matters Partners) and to download an Application for your Basic, Premium or Partner Membership in the National ElderCare Matters Alliance, visit: ElderCare Matters Alliance.