When setting up a special needs trust, one of the most important decisions you will make is selecting the right trustee.
This individual or entity will manage the trust for the benefit of the person with special needs.
1. Understanding of special needs
The trustee should have a good understanding of the unique needs and challenges faced by individuals with disabilities. This includes being aware of any government benefits the beneficiary receives, as well as the impact that certain financial decisions can have on eligibility for those benefits. Considering that persons with disabilities have an unemployment rate more than double that of someone without a disability, the potential for future earnings also needs consideration.
2. Financial responsibility
It is important to choose someone who is financially responsible and capable of managing the trust assets prudently. This includes handling investments wisely, paying bills on time and keeping detailed records of all transactions related to the trust.
3. Long-term commitment
The role of trustee is often a long-term commitment, sometimes spanning several decades. Select someone willing and able to fulfill this role for the duration of the beneficiary’s lifetime. This could be a family member, close friend or professional trustee.
Above all, the trustee must be someone you trust to always act in the best interests of the beneficiary. This means putting the beneficiary’s needs first, even if it means making difficult decisions or saying no to requests that may not be in the beneficiary’s best interest.
By taking the time to choose the right trustee, you can help ensure your loved one’s needs are properly cared for both now and in the future.