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How are special needs defined?

Before you can set up a special needs trust to benefit your California child, you must determine if (s)he qualifies for such a trust. As you likely already know, “special needs” is an umbrella term that covers a wide variety of illnesses and conditions.

Very Well Family explains that while each special need is unique to the child suffering from it, these types of needs tend to fall into the following six categories

  1. Medical conditions
  2. Congenital conditions
  3. Psychiatric conditions
  4. Developmental conditions
  5. Learning conditions
  6. Behavioral conditions

Medical and congenital conditions

Your special needs child may suffer from a medical disease or condition such as cancer, cystic fibrosis, a heart defect, muscular dystrophy, diabetes, asthma, etc. Or (s)he may suffer from a congenital disease or condition such as cerebral palsy, dwarfism, food allergies, obesity, etc.

Psychiatric conditions

Special needs also cover the various types of mental health issues your child may face such as schizophrenia, chronic depression or anxiety, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anorexia nervosa or a host of other such disorders.

Developmental and learning conditions

Developmental conditions such as Down syndrome and autism can make your child’s life very difficult indeed. So can learning disabilities such as dyslexia and auditory processing disorder.

Behavioral conditions

Finally, behavioral conditions from which your child suffers such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, dysfunction of sensory integration and Tourette's syndrome likewise come under the special needs umbrella.

Whatever type(s) of special needs your child has, (s)he looks to you as his or her primary source of love, understanding, patience, encouragement and all the other things (s)he requires and so desperately needs. While you gladly provide him or her with all these things and more, establishing a special needs trust can ensure that (s)he will continue to receive the things (s)he needs even after you are no longer around to provide them.

This is educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.

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