Parents who have children or young adults with special needs need to do an extra level of estate planning. Their plans need to contain trusts that will continue or permit future receipt of public assistance benefits. Sometimes parents are told that they need to disinherit children or young adults with physical disabilities or who are developmentally delayed so they won't lose their benefits. This is not true. Parents can have wills drafted with Supplemental Needs Trusts. These trusts permit children to receive their benefits and still receive "the extras" that improve their quality of life.
Similar, but not the same as Supplemental Needs Trusts, are Special Needs Trusts. These trusts are created when a disabled child or young adult receives a large sum of money, typically through an inheritance or injury settlement. Special Needs Trusts must be carefully drafted so children do not lose or become ineligible for public assistance benefits.