As the parent of a California special needs child, you may have considered setting up a special needs trust for him or her to ensure that the money will always be there to provide the care (s)he needs, even when you are no longer around to provide it yourself.
But what exactly qualifies as a “special need” for trust purposes? Very Well Family explains that although your child’s special needs are specific to him or her, special needs generally fall into one of the following six categories:
- Congenital conditions
- Medical conditions
- Developmental conditions
- Learning conditions
- Behavioral conditions
- Psychiatric conditions
Congenital and medical conditions
In these two categories, diseases and conditions such as cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, heart defects, cancer, cerebral palsy and dwarfism are the ones that most commonly result in special needs.
Developmental and learning conditions
Examples of special needs in these two categories include Down syndrome, autism, auditory processing disorder and dyslexia, all of which can severely limit your child’s ability to learn.
This is a very broad special needs category that includes such things as Tourette's syndrome, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, a/k/a ADHD, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, and sensory integration dysfunction.
Virtually any kind of mental health disease and condition can lead to a special need, including the following:
- Bipolar disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Chronic depression or anxiety
- Anorexia nervosa
The above diseases and conditions are by no means an exhaustive list of all the things that could cause your child to need lifelong care and supervision. Given that (s)he likely will outlive you, setting up a special needs trust for him or her may be one of the most loving things you ever do for your special needs child.
This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.