How to Provide Financial Protection to Your Special Needs Child

I understand the deep concern and care parents have for the financial security and well-being of their special needs children. Planning for their future requires thoughtful consideration to ensure that they are provided for in the best possible way. One essential aspect of estate planning for special needs children is safeguarding their inheritance and preserving access to government benefits. This post explores the importance of providing financial protection to your special needs child. It also discusses how proper estate planning can achieve this crucial goal.

The Financial Challenges Faced by Special Needs Families:

Families with special needs children often face unique financial challenges. Providing for the immediate and long-term needs of a special needs child can be complex, requiring careful planning to ensure a secure future. Special needs individuals may rely on government benefits, such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), to access essential medical care, housing, and other vital services. However, receiving an inheritance or a significant financial gift directly could jeopardize their eligibility for these critical benefits.

Safeguarding Your Child’s Inheritance with a Special Needs Trust:

One effective way to protect your special needs child’s inheritance is by establishing a special needs trust (SNT). A special needs trust is a legal instrument specifically designed to benefit individuals with disabilities, including special needs children. By creating an SNT, you can leave assets and inheritance to your child without impacting their eligibility for government benefits.

The Role of the Special Needs Trust:

A properly structured special needs trust can play a vital role in providing financial protection to your special needs child. Here’s how:

Preserving Government Benefits:

Assets held within the special needs trust are not considered as countable resources for determining eligibility for government benefits. This means that your child can continue to receive essential benefits. Simultaneously, you child can benefit from the supplemental support provided by the trust.

Supplemental Support:

The special needs trust can be used to provide for the additional needs and quality of life of your child. Funds from the trust can be used for various expenses, such as education, therapies, travel, and other services. These expenditures can enhance their well-being and happiness.

Professional Management:

By appointing a trustee, you ensure that the funds within the special needs trust are managed responsibly. You also ensure the funds will be utilized for your child’s benefit. This alleviates the burden on family members and provides expertise in handling financial matters.

Types of Special Needs Trusts:

There are two primary types of special needs trusts:

Third-Party Special Needs Trust:

A third-party special needs trust is funded by someone other than the special needs individual. These people include parents, grandparents, or other family members. It is typically created as part of the grantor’s estate plan. The goal of course is to provide for the future needs of the special needs child.

First-Party Special Needs Trust:

A first-party special needs trusts are also known as a “self-settled” or “pooled” special needs trust. A first-party special needs trust is funded with the assets of the special needs individual. The funds are often generated through a personal injury settlement, inheritance, or other financial resources belonging to the individual.

Creating the Special Needs Trust:

Establishing a special needs trust requires careful planning and adherence to legal requirements. As an experienced Illinois estate planning attorney, I can guide you through the process. The trust must be appropriately drafted and aligned with your child’s unique needs.

Review and Updates:

Regularly reviewing the special needs trust with your attorney is essential. Life is dynamic, and circumstances may change over time. Trust updates may be necessitated by major life events, such as marriage, divorce, or changes in government benefit programs. These updates are required to ensure it remains effective in providing financial protection for your child.


Providing financial protection to your special needs child is of utmost importance. Proper estate planning is key to achieving this crucial goal. By establishing a special needs trust, you can safeguard your child’s inheritance. You can also preserve their access to government benefits. Thereby, your child can receive the care and support they deserve throughout their life. As an Illinois estate planning attorney, I am committed to assisting families in creating comprehensive estate plans. I want to prioritize the financial security and well-being of your special needs children. Together, we can pave the way for a secure and fulfilling future for your loved one.