Working with a Special Needs Planning Attorney to create a trust for your child with special needs  is an important part of preparing for his or her future.  In order to make sure that the Special Needs Trust stays relevant to your family’s needs, however, it is important to review it annually.  At this point, you are able to reflect on any changes that have taken place in your life or that of your loved one so that you can update the trust to reflect those changes. The end of the year is a great time to check this important task off the “to do” list.

During your annual review, you will want to ask some questions to evaluate whether or not any changes need to be made to the Special Needs Trust or your family’s overall estate plan. Here are some things to consider:

  1. Have your assets changed? The purchase of property or other major change in assets over the past year should be considered when reviewing the trust. You want to be sure that all of them are properly accounted for in your planning. If an asset is accidently passed down to your child outside of the Special Needs Trust, it could sabotage any planning you worked to put in place.
  2. Does the plan still fit the need? When major changes come up, they can necessitate changes in the Special Needs Trust.  Perhaps there is a new medical treatment that has become available for your loved one.  If your original plan does not meet the costs for continued care, it may be time to amend your original trust.
  3. Have you named the best successor trustees? Life circumstances change, and someone who was named as a trustee at one point may no longer be the right choice. For example, maybe you named a grandparent to serve as successor trustee, but that grandparent is now dealing with healthcare challenges of his or her own.  Whether health or life changes have impacted someone’s ability to perform the task, a change should  be made to the Special Needs Trust.
  4. Are you still able to act as your loved one’s trustee? While parents typically serve as the initial trustee of their child’s Special Needs Trust,  there are times when this becomes a less desirable option.  If the parent is in poor physical health or is beginning to suffer from dementia, for example, it is very important to discuss this with an  Special Needs Planning lawyer..

If you have questions after doing your annual review this year, please do not hesitate to contact us to schedule an appointment so that we can discuss those changes that you recognize and possibly to uncover those changes that you did not even realize would have an impact on your special needs plan.