Parents of special needs children can effectively transfer assets to them by creating Special Needs Trusts. However, take note of the case In the Matter of the Accounting by JP Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. v. Marie H., N.Y. Surr.Ct., No. 2005-1307, Dec. 31, 2012, which highlights the importance of choosing the right trustee to administer the trust for your child.
In the case, a corporate trustee was appointed to administer a multi-million dollar trust for a non-verbal minor with Autism (the “Ward”). The court found that the trustee had virtually left the Ward abandoned. The trustee never visited the ward to determine the adequacy of his care or implemented ways for improving his situation. The judge declared that it is insufficient for a trustee to merely protect the trust’s assets. The duty is to the Ward and failure of a trustee to visit and routinely check on the quality of life of the Ward will (and should) result in court intervention.
When deciding who to appoint as the trustee of a Special Needs Trust, select an individual who will not only take care of the trust assets, but also the person the trust was created to protect. If you have questions regarding your options when a trustee is not performing their duties, contact us for help.
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