Special Needs Trusts: A Responsible Way To Provide For Family Members With Special Needs
Some people are surprised to find out that, in their 30s, they are not too young to get started on their estate plans, but to the parents of children with special needs, this has been obvious since a doctor first told the parents that the child would need to depend financially on the parents for life. If you have a child with special medical needs, estate planning is not a thought exercise about your financial values; it is about protecting your child from being vulnerable to physical and financial abuse after you are no longer able to do the day-to-day work of taking care of your child and helping them manage their finances or making financial decisions on their behalf. A Tampa probate lawyer can help you enact your long-term plans for the care and support of your adult child with disabilities.
Estate Planning for the Parents of People With Permanent Disabilities
There is no one-size-fits-all estate plan that will give all parents the greatest amount of peace of mind regarding the future of their children with special needs. What actions you should take now will depend on your current financial situation and on the nature of your child’s disability. If you have guardianship of your son or daughter who is past the age of 18, then you should decide who will be your child’s guardian when you are no longer able to act in that capacity, and you should state your decision in writing. The person you choose may or may not be a family member, but it should be someone you really trust and who has consistently been a presence in your child’s life. Your will should include specific instructions about your child’s continuing care.
If your child receives Medicaid benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), then establishing a special needs trust, also known as a supplemental needs trust is the best option for providing financial support for your child. Public benefits like Medicaid and SSI are only available to people whose income is below a certain level, and this fact affects your estate plan. If you place assets in a special needs trust, your child will have access to those assets without losing their eligibility for Medicaid and SSI. As with establishing and funding any kind of trust, the plan can backfire and the intended beneficiaries can end up having to pay a lot more than you planned if the trust has not been properly set up and administered. Therefore, it is important to work with an estate planning lawyer when setting up a special needs trust.
Contact an Attorney Today for Help
An estate planning lawyer can help you start now to develop a comprehensive estate plan that will ensure that your child with special needs, as well as the other members of your family, remain financially secure. Contact David Toback for help today.