Anyone who is 18 years of age and competent can become a trustee of a special needs trust. Typically, the parents, grandparents, or legal guardian of the special needs child will be the trustee. If they are no longer alive or unable to be the trustees, they usually assign another family member or close family friend. However, anyone is allowed to step into the role of a trustee.
Following are considerations to take into account when assigning a trustee.
Understanding Public Benefits
It’s vital that whoever becomes the trustee for your child’s pooled special needs trust understands the way public benefits work, or is at least willing to learn. Governmental benefits can be rather complex to navigate, so in order to make sure your child is in good hands, the individual in charge must know the rules.
They may even decide to meet with a special needs planner to learn the ins and outs of the benefits system and what their responsibilities as a trustee will be.
Having Sufficient Time
Being a trustee for a special needs trust is no light role. It involves a lot of active work and can sometimes even feel like a full-time job. They are responsible for taking over duties such as dealing with bills, ensuring benefits are being received, securing housing, paying medical costs, and being a liaison between their beneficiary and different service providers.
If an individual doesn’t have the time for these tasks or isn’t willing to make time for them, then they’re most likely not the best option.
Opting for a Professional Trustee
If there isn’t a parent or other close family member or friend who’s able to step up to the role, you may consider hiring a professional one. A professional trustee can be any professional you trust such as someone from a trust company, an investment firm, an attorney, or someone else at a professional organization. That organization or individual most likely has experience with public benefits, managing money, and other helpful skills that involve being in charge of a pooled trust.
Another large benefit of using a professional individual as a trustee is that no emotions or personal relations are involved. It’s possible for there to be some arguments or disagreements between family members over a trustee’s decisions and choices, especially when it comes to their motives. This can cause strained relationships and difficult conversations. By using an outside source, these familial issues can be avoided entirely.
How Must Trust You Have in Them
Being the trustee of a pooled trust comes with a lot of power and responsibility, so it’s vital that you wholeheartedly trust whoever you choose. Perhaps you’re more likely to trust a random professional for the reasons listed above, or you would only be able to trust a family member. You may even opt to choose both a family member and an outside resource as co-trustees.
Regardless of who you end up choosing, you must fully believe that they have the beneficiary’s best interests at the forefront of all of their decisions.
Contact Life’s Plan Today
Assigning a trustee to your child’s special needs trust may be easy, but certain family situations may make it difficult. Life’s Plan can help you through all the intricacies of forming a trust, including finding the right individual to be in charge of it. For assistance setting up a special needs trust in Illinois, give our friendly staff a call.