In a Special Needs Trust, you may find it best to appoint a family member as the Trust Advisory Committee rather than as the Trustee. Many parents believe that a capable sibling of a disabled child would be the best trustee; however, this generally does not work out well for the family.
Although very well intentioned, this sibling is usually not prepared to handle the various responsibilities and often can make costly mistakes. Additionally, the family member may find it difficult to manage the decisions on spending trust dollars, especially if that family member is a remainder beneficiary. The trustee role could put a strain on the relationship between the sibling and the special needs individual and is best suited for a professional trustee.
We know you would like to keep the family member involved in the process, so we recommend appointing them to the role of Trust Advisory Committee. A provision in your Special Needs Trust can enable a Trust Advisory Committee to provide the trustee directions, to hire and fire the trustee, and to possibly amend a trust document, yet give the responsibilities of managing funds, making distributions, preparing tax returns and keeping records to a professional trustee. The Committee will have a tremendous “say” without the direct responsibilities of the day-to-day administration of the trust. This a great role for a capable, but inexperienced sibling or other family member.
Please contact Golden Financial Services if you have any questions or need some help putting together a plan for your Special Needs loved one.