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What should I know about a special needs trustee?

On Behalf of | Jun 13, 2022 | Special Needs | 0 comments

With a special needs trust, you can breathe easier knowing that your special needs child will receive care even when you are no longer around to provide it. An important part of creating your trust is choosing a person or entity to manage the trust, also known as a trustee.

If you have not previously set a special needs trust or considered who you want to be in charge of it, Policy Genius explains some facts about a trustee that may help you understand who to select for this important position.

A trustee can be almost anyone

There are very few limits to who can be a trustee, so if you have a family member in mind, you might be able to pick your relative without any trouble. However, a special needs trust has strict requirements that your trustee must follow. If your trustee pick is likely to struggle with aspects of managing the trust, you might want to go with a professional like a special needs planner or a non-profit entity that only serves as trustee for special needs trusts.

A trustee can also be a caretaker

Your child may already have a caretaker. If so, you might consider the caretaker to also be the trustee if you feel that person can handle the management duties of the trust. As the trustee, your caretaker will use the trust funds to make payments or purchases on behalf of your child.

A trustee has fiduciary responsibilities

Since your trustee is managing financial assets on behalf of your loved one, your trustee will act as a fiduciary to your child. People who break their fiduciary duty can become subject to litigation and may face fines and penalties if a court finds them guilty of fraud or other forms of mismanagement.  There can also be issues for the trustee with understanding Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid to not disqualify your child from government benefits using of the trust.

Given that your trustee may be vulnerable in court or cause problems with your child’s benefits if he or she misuses the trust, consider taking the proper time to examine the capabilities of your trustee candidates for the job, possibly using an individual with a non-profit entity.