Special Needs Trust
A Special Needs Trust can be a valuable tool for the family of a special needs child. Generally, it is used to protect the public benefits of a person who may in the future receive or currently receives public benefits and is likely to inherit money or receive a settlement. The assets are placed in the special needs trust and a trusted person, the Trustee, manages the money for the Beneficiary, without the Beneficiary losing his or her public benefits: Medi-Cal, SSI, and IHSS. A Special Needs Trust can also allow parents to give directions so their child will not be unnecessarily institutionalized and will be properly educated so he or she can achieve his or her full potential.
The general rules are that a beneficiary may not control the amount or frequency of distributions, the beneficiary may not have the authority to revoke the trust, and the fund must be used for the personal benefit of the beneficiary. For a more thorough discussion of the rules regarding special needs trusts and whether one is appropriate for your circumstances, you should contact an attorney.