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Setting up a special needs trust in Oklahoma

In Oklahoma, many parents want to make certain their children who are disabled will be able to have their needs taken care of when they are adults without interfering with their children's ability to continue receiving federal and state benefits. A special needs trust is a legal vehicle by which parents can provide funds designated to take care of certain expenses that would otherwise not be covered through SSI or Medicaid and Medicare benefits.

Like other states, Oklahoma law specifically outlines what categories of expenses can be designated for spending by a special needs trust without interfering with benefits. Examples of allowable categories include transportation costs, the cost of in-home health aides, education and rehabilitation costs, the cost of computer equipment and non-covered medical and dental care and treatment.

Each special needs trust has a trustee that pays the needed expenses out of the trust account set up on the beneficiary's behalf. Setting up a special needs trust correctly can be complicated and in order to protect the availability of benefits, it is important a trust is set up and administered correctly.

Many people have children with special needs who will be unable to live without assistance as adults. By establishing these types of trusts for them, parents can have some assurance that their children's needs will be met into adulthood even after the parents are no longer able to help them. For that reason, many people with special needs children may wish to discuss their child's situation who has experience in estate planning matters. The attorney can provide guidance to the client as to the specific language that should be included in the trust document.

Source: PACER.org, "The Special Needs Trust", October 19, 2014

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