Most Washington parents expect that their children will grow up, move out, and start lives of their own. Once their kids are financially independent the parents may have few concerns about needing to support them into the future. However, this is not the reality for all families. Some children require help and support for their entire lives.

Individuals who suffer from mental and physical disabilities may be limited in what they can do independently, even as they age into adulthood. While some may be able to hold down jobs, others may require physical, social, and occupational care for their whole lives. Government benefits such as those available through the Social Security Administration can offer disabled individuals a means to pay for what they need when they cannot work.

However, it is often the case that government benefits can be reduced or terminated if a person receives financial support from a family member or even from an inheritance. Parents of children who have disabilities may not know how to address this conundrum: having the desire and ability to leave their child the money they need, but not wanting to jeopardize the benefits they depend on to live.

In such a scenario parents may consider setting up a special needs trust for their child. A special needs trust does not interfere with government benefits and may even terminate if its existence prevents a beneficiary from receiving government support. The proceeds of a special needs trust may be used for an extensive range of goods and services to improve the life of the beneficiary.

Special needs trusts are just one of the kinds of trusts that Washington residents may wish to explore when they set up their estate plans. Attorneys who work in the field of estate planning can explain different trust options to their clients. Readers are reminded that this post does not provide any legal advice.