Caring For That ‘Special Child’ Till Eternity

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By PETER LEE

Jeff and Maggie, a couple in their mid 40s have a son aged 10 with Down’s syndrome. They have always provided him with constant care and the attention required as most parents would do for their children. However, they are always worried about who will take care of their son when they pass away.

Both of them have always discussed issues such as choosing a suitable guardian for their child and if they cannot find a suitable Guardian, which nursing care centre can provide for his basic needs, which includes medical attention and special education. There is also the issue of providing sufficient funds for these expenses and most important of all to manage their assets so as to continue to pay for the child’s expenses.

After a few rounds of discussion, Jeff and Maggie decided that they needed a trustee to be responsible for their assets and to pay for their son’s expenses. At the same time, they will also appoint a Protector. They will choose one or two people they can trust to be the “PROTECTOR”. A “PROTECTOR” is chosen to act as watchdog for the beneficiaries and also as an advisor to the trustee. With such matters clarified, then they could consider setting up an “INTER VIVOS TRUST” (commonly known as LIVING TRUST) to ensure their issues are addressed so as to be able to fulfil their wishes.

Setting up such a “TRUST” will involve four parties. The 1st party is the “SETTLOR” (Jeff and Maggie who will jointly create the trust). The 2nd party is the trustee who should be an established and reputable TRUST COMPANY, like Rockwills Trustee Berhad, that is able to offer their expertise, knowledge, accountability and most importantly, continuity. The 3rd Party is the “PROTECTOR” as explained earlier. The 4th party is the “BENEFICIARY” who is the son. When the four parties are in place, then Jeff and Maggie have to inject some cash or to assign life insurance policies into the “TRUST” for funding. Thereafter, they can list down all these parties involved together with their instructions for distribution in detail in the TRUST DEED for the TRUSTEE, PROTECTOR and GUARDIAN. This is what I would refer to as CARING FOR THAT ‘SPECIAL CHILD’ TILL ETERNITY.

Peter Lee is an Associate Estate Planning  Practitioner (Wills & Trust) with Rockwills International Group. He is also an Islamic Estate Planner providing Wills & Trust services for Muslims. He is based in Ipoh and can be reached at: 012-5078825/05-2554853 or excelsec@streamyx.com.