A special needs trust can be an important form of protection for someone in your family who won’t be capable of providing for themselves independently after you die. Some parents create special needs trusts to promote independent living for their adult children with special needs.

If you need to create a special needs trust, one of the most important decisions you will make, other than how to structure and fund it, will be whom you name as trustee. The person serving as trustee will have the obligation of managing the assets in the trust and can be an important support to the beneficiary when you cannot be.

Age, relationship and responsibilities are all critical factors

In some cases, the best option for the trustee of a special needs trust may be a sibling of a child with special needs who is capable of handling the trust when the parents can no longer do so. However, siblings could potentially harbor some jealousy or resentment over the amount of attention the child with special needs received earlier in life. This could mean there’s a risk for emotional or financial abuse.

Looking at the relationship someone has with your child is an important part of deciding whether or not to name as trustee. Choosing someone who is young enough to likely be able to maintain that role for at least a few decades is also important. Finally, selecting someone capable of putting your child’s needs first is of the utmost importance, as some people might mismanage or even embezzle funds from a trust. With the right trustee(s), your special needs trust can go a long way toward protecting your child.