How to protect your estate for a child who is receiving state and/or federal benefits.


Posted almost 5 years ago. Applies to North Carolina, 3 helpful votes



Determine if you want to leave money or resources at your death to benefit a child receiving state and/or federal benefits.

Analyze what you want to accomplish for this child when you are no longer here. If you want to make sure that there is money which can be used for this child, but you don't want the money taken to pay for past or future benefits, which are covered by the child's existing benefits, then it's time to see an estate planning attorney.


Create a Special Needs Trust.

Get professional advice and assitance when creating a special needs trust. A special needs trust is a legal contract which holds assets, used by a trustee, to benefit the special needs child.


Appoint numerous successor trustees or a corporate trustee to control the trust for the special needs individual when you are no longer here.

Figure out which individual would be best serving in the capacity of successor trustee when you are no longer here. Look to individuals who will be around for the special need child's lifetime. Appoint individuals to take over for that person, if unforseen events, including death or disability occur. If you don't want to give this job to a person, interview corporate and third party trustees to administer this trust for the child's life.


Determine the source of funding for the Special Needs Trust.

An attorney will assist you in determining which assets are going to go into the trust during your life or at your death, so that the trust will be funded. Many people use life insurance or money which would be available at their death through their estate, to capitalize the trust.


Educate the trustees about the Special Needs Trust and their job as trustee.

Make sure that the individuals you've selected agree to perform the job as trustee and they understand what they are agreeing to. Your attorney will be of great assistance in this regard.

Additional Resources

Special Needs Children need Special Planning

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Successor trustee

A successor trustee is someone who takes over the role (and original duties) of trustee if the original person can't continue with the responsibility.

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