Caring for special needs

A family was concerned for their special-needs son, who they feared was particularly vulnerable because his special needs were not apparent. After he turned 18, we successfully petitioned for the parents to be appointed his guardians. Then we drafted an estate plan for the parents that provided that their son’s inheritance will instead be held by a trustee in a special needs trust. The trustee will be able to spend money for the son’s benefit in certain limited ways, and the trust won’t hurt the son’s ability to qualify for state and federal benefits such as Medicaid. After the son’s death, the remainder of the trust will be distributed to the parents’ other heirs.