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What does a special needs trustee do?

On Behalf of | Jul 25, 2022 | Estate Planning

Having a child who has a disability can be stressful. After all, not only must you address his or her present-day needs, but you also may have to continue to support your child when he or she becomes an adult. Thankfully, individuals who cannot work because of their disabilities are often eligible for government benefits.

According to, qualifying for many types of public benefits requires having limited income and assets. Simply put, if you give cash or other assets to your child, he or she may not qualify for government help. Creating a special needs trust is often the right workaround for parents.

What is a special needs trust?

A special needs trust is a unique estate planning tool that allows you to give your child access to money without risking his or her eligibility for means-tested government benefits. This is because the special needs trust holds funds for your child’s benefit rather than transferring ownership of the funds to him or her.

Who is the special needs trustee?

One of the more important tasks to complete when establishing a special needs trust is naming a trustee to oversee the trust. This trustee can be a professional, such as a lawyer or financial advisor, or an amateur, like you or your spouse.

To be an effective special needs trustee, though, the person must be ready, willing and able to perform the following duties:

  • Recordkeeping and reporting
  • Approving disbursements from the trust
  • Investing funds in the trust
  • Connecting the beneficiary with necessary resources

Ultimately, because the success of your special needs trust may depend on the abilities of its trustee, you should devote some time and mental energy to choosing the right person for the job.