Fifty years ago a goal of inclusion for those with special needs was set through the establishment of the Special Olympics, and this year we celebrate getting closer and closer to that goal each year. The community supporting those with special needs grows larger each year ,as well as the community of Special Olympics athletes themselves.
At this point, there are 4.9 million Special Olympics athletes from 172 countries!
Why sports? Their website says it well:
“Through sports, our athletes are seeing themselves for their abilities, not disabilities. Their world is opened with acceptance and understanding. They become confident and empowered by their accomplishments. They are also making new friends, as part of the most inclusive community on the planet — a global community that is growing every day.”
To celebrate, last month the organization put a festival on Soldier Field with celebrities and live entertainment among other events, such as a historical and cultural walk and the first ever Special Olympics Unified Cup.
To see videos that show some of the milestone moments from their history, click here.
Supporting those with special needs.
This has been a real goal in the trust industry, far beyond when “Special Needs Trusts” or “Supplemental Needs Trusts” have been around.
One of the fundamental motivations for creating a trust often can be to create a professionally managed lifetime income stream, for a spouse or child who does not have a way to earn an income stream themselves. When you add into the scenario a case where the person’s needs are greater than average due to disabilities, creating a trust seems like it would be the natural choice.
So… why the distinction of “Special Needs Trust”?
It’s because the usual ways of providing for your loved ones with special needs such as gifting or inheritance may place governmental assistance programs in jeopardy. Many government programs have strict need-based requirements, and if the assets were transferred directly they may end up paying for basic services instead of the quality of life improvements that could be otherwise created by an outside provider.
There are other benefits too, such as the trust being able to be customized to provide the disabled beneficiary’s specific needs, and avoiding family conflict regarding who the caretaker would be.
Special Needs Trusts are complex, so a qualified attorney should be consulted to ensure that they are properly drafted.
Garden State’s trust professionals have years of experience working with special needs trusts. We’re glad that the community that supports those with special needs is growing, that we get to be part of it, and look forward to many more years of increasing inclusion.