Special Needs Planning Timeline

What needs to be done now?

  1. Create/Update a will
  • If parents do not have a will, the State of CT Laws of Intestacy (dying without a will), determine the distribution of their assets, which is not in the best interests of the child with Special Needs.
  1. Establish a Special Needs Trust (SNT)
  • Any assets left to the individual with Special Needs must be directed to the SNT in order to protect their eligibility for government benefits.
  • Remember the trust does not have to be funded today.
  • SNT can also provide protection from predators and creditors.
  1. Change beneficiaries on existing life insurance and retirement plans to reflect the SNT. These assets do not pass through the Probate System (Will), but rather by beneficiary designation.                                                                         
  2. Consider Life/Disability Insurance on parents to protect family and explore 2nd to Die insurance to create a funding mechanism for the SNT…remember, an unfunded/underfunded trust is nothing more than an empty promise.             
  3. Create a Letter of Intent, a blueprint of your child’s life that future caregivers can follow.                                                                                                             
  4. Avoid saving more than $1,600 directly in the child’s name. The child’s social security number should not be associated with the account.
  • UGMA/UTMA accounts are not good
  • 529 college savings accounts may be problematic
  • ABLE accounts are ok, but remember they have Medicaid payback
  1. Communicate your plan to other family members.

What needs to be done at age 18? 

  1. Apply for Government Benefits

-     Social Security (SSI) SSA.Gov, currently $794/month, some families will receive 1/3 reduction if not properly

      educated on the process

-     Medicaid, potential access to services funded by DDS, DMHAS, Brain Injury etc.

-     CFC Community First Choice   

  1. Consider applying for Guardianship/Conservatorship
    -     If in the DDS system – Guardianship, all others Conservatorship
    -     Can apply 6 months prior to 18th birthday