September 22, 2011
Authored by: Tanya Harvey and Jordan Ware
Should my relatives give money directly to my child with special needs?
No. Family members and friends should be cautioned against gifting money or property, or leaving money or property in their wills directly to your child except in ways that do not result in a loss of eligibility for public benefits or liability for the cost of your child’s care. If you desire, a special needs trust can be established during your lifetime to accept such gifts. It would be prudent to have grandparents’ wills reviewed by an attorney familiar with special needs trusts to avoid bequests that will have unintended and unwanted consequences. Further, neither you nor your relatives should establish any Uniform Transfer to Minors Act (UTMA) accounts for your child, as these accounts may disqualify your child for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid.