Special needs children and estate planning

| Jul 15, 2021 | Estate Planning, special-needs | 0 comments

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 26% of American adults possess some form of disability. Out of these, one in three between the ages of 18 and 44 dealt with an unmet medical need in the last year because of the expense.

If you are a parent to special needs children, you may have legitimate concerns about their future. You may worry about what may happen to them after you are gone. Proper estate planning is one way to make provisions for them.

Consider making prior living arrangements

Depending on the level of severity of your offspring’s disabilities, they may be capable of attending college, obtaining self-sustaining employment and living life on their own with minimal or no adjustments, or they may be incapable of one or all of these. If your children are unable to live on their own, think about making plans for them to enter a group home or some other facility with aid after your death.

Consider appointing a guardian

While your special needs children are minors, you can name a guardian in your Will to ensure that there is a trusted individual to manage your children’s affairs, financial and otherwise. Once your child is over the age of 18, he or she may be able to sign powers of attorney; or there may be need for a court to appoint a guardian. This person makes sure your adult child receives the care needed, as well as making decisions the adult child may not be competent to make.  You may wish discuss guardianship with an elder law attorney.

Consider using a special needs trust

If you want to leave money or assets behind for your progeny, consider placing these items in a special needs trust. Otherwise, the inheritance may render your children ineligible for government assistance such as Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Since your children are unable to directly access the funds in a special needs trust, their benefits can continue.

Planning for the future helps you take care of your special needs children even after you are no longer here to watch over them.

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Carol Sikov Gross is a member
of the National Academy of
Elder Law Attorneys

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