By Fredrick P. Niemann, Esq. a New Jersey Special Needs Trust Attorney
If you are contemplating the creation of a Special Needs Trust, it is likely that a number of issues will arise with respect to how much money to fund the trust. First, how much money will your child with special needs require over his or her life? Second, should you leave the same portion of your estate to all of your children, no matter what their need(s)? The first question is a difficult one. It depends on the assumptions you make about your child’s needs and the availability of other resources to fulfill those needs. A financial planner or life care planner with experience in this area can help make projections to assist with this determination. But in all cases it’s better to err on the side of more money rather than less. You can’t be certain current benefit programs will continue indefinitely. And you have to factor in paying privately for services, such as case management, therapy, etc. that you provide to your child free-of-charge today. If these assumptions mean that your child with special needs will require a large percentage of your estate, how will your other children feel if they receive less than their pro rata share? After all, your estate may already be smaller than it would be otherwise due to the time and money spent providing for the child with special needs. And your other children may have received less of your attention growing up than they would have otherwise had they not had a child with special needs. One solution to the question of fairness is the purchase of life insurance. You can divide your estate equally among your children, but supplement the amount going to the special needs trust for your child with special needs with life insurance. The younger you are when you start, the more affordable the premiums will be. And if you are married, the premiums can often be lower if you purchase a policy that pays out only when the second parent dies.
Contact me personally today to discuss your New Jersey Special Needs Trust. I am easy to talk to, very approachable and can offer you practical, legal ways to handle your concerns. You can reach me toll free at (855) 376-5291 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.