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Dementia presents unique challenges, not only for those directly affected by the condition but also for their caregivers. As cognitive abilities decline, managing finances can become increasingly difficult, leading to potential vulnerabilities and financial insecurity. In such circumstances, establishing a special needs trust can provide invaluable protection and peace of mind.

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Read on for insights into the importance of a special needs trust, a step-by-step guide to setting it up, and resources available to help caregivers like yourself navigate the complexities of financial management for your loved one with dementia.

What is a Special Needs Trust? ​

A special needs trust is a legal arrangement designed to manage assets on behalf of individuals with disabilities, including dementia. By placing assets into a special needs trust, individuals can ensure that their financial resources are protected and used appropriately to support their care needs.

What is the Importance of a Special Needs Trust?​

A special needs trust provides a level of protection against financial exploitation and mismanagement. As cognitive decline progresses, persons living with dementia become increasingly vulnerable to scams, fraud, and undue influence. By entrusting their finances to a trustee, often a trusted family member or professional, persons living with dementia can mitigate the risk of financial abuse and ensure that their resources are used for their benefit.

Setting Up a Special Needs Trust ​

1. First Appointment with Case Manager

Upon reaching out to the Special Needs Trust Company (SNTC) to schedule an appointment, you will proceed to the initial assessment stage. Here, you will meet with a case manager, who is trained in social work. They will then conduct a comprehensive needs assessment, covering various expenses for your loved one with dementia, including:

  • Housing
  • Healthcare
  • Transportation
  • Nutrition
  • Personal Care
  • Miscellaneous expenses

Following this, the case manager will work with you to create a personalised care plan. This  care plan is like a form of budgeting exercise and it will help determine the necessary trust funds to ensure your loved one’s long-term care needs are met, particularly in times when you are no longer able or around to provide care. This plan can be developed with caregivers or with persons living with dementia who are in the mild stage of their condition and are able to  understand the benefit of setting up a trust for themselves.

2. Trust Set-up and Pre-activation

The case manager will help you with setting up the trust and identify future assets to be injected that will be used to support the beneficiaries.  Sponsorship opportunities are offered to eligible lower-income families. The case manager will assist you, should you meet the eligibility criteria, in applying for the appropriate sponsorship schemes as part of the trust setup process.

For more information on the available sponsorship schemes, click here.

3. Trust Activation

When the trust is activated, the money will be used to fund the beneficiary.  The case manager will continue to support the family through ongoing case reviews and periodic visits.

For more information on what happens upon activation, click here.

Future Care Planning – Spouse with Dementia
Source: Special Needs Trust Company

This video offers a step-by-step guide to caregivers of persons living with dementia when setting up a Special Needs Trust.

Tools for Financial Care Planning ​

In addition to establishing a special needs trust, caregivers and persons living with dementia now have access to technological tools to aid in financial care planning.  

One such example is the Financial Care Plan (FCP) application by SNTC. This application allows caregivers to answer 17 questions pertaining to their family situations, special needs and future care arrangements.  Based on this input, the app generates a customised plan, including an estimation of how much your loved one with dementia will require in their lifetime. This estimation is derived from factors such as the year of birth of yourself and your loved one, the special needs condition of your loved one, your loved one’s future care arrangement, and the income level of the family.

This development offers a more accessible and efficient approach to managing finances and creating long-term care plans.

For more information, visit SNTC’s website.

Conclusion ​​

Managing finances can be a daunting task, especially for persons living with dementia and their caregivers. However, the combination of a special needs trust and innovative financial planning tools offers caregivers of persons living with dementia a streamlined approach to managing finances and securing long-term care. By utilising these resources, caregivers can provide essential support while ensuring peace of mind for themselves and their loved ones.


Special needs trust company

The Special Needs Trust Company (“SNTC”) was set up in 2008 to provide trust management services to persons with special needs (with physical, developmental or mental disability) and are unable to manage their own affairs. SNTC is the only non-profit trust company in Singapore fully supported by Ministry of Social and Family Development and  commissioned to provide affordable trust services to meet the needs of caregivers to ensure the financial security of their special needs dependents.

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Downloadable Resources

The following material contains bite-sized information about dementia. To download or print it, simply click the image. You may also select the language of the material by clicking the “Select Language” button.

Downloadable Resources

The following material contains bite-sized information about dementia. To download or print it, simply click the image. You may also select the language of the material by clicking the “Select Language” button.

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