Parents of children with special needs usually share one overriding concern: what will happen to my child after I’m gone? They also struggle with guilt for what they envision as an eventual destiny for their other children who might assume care of their special needs sibling. Here’s what important: Care for a Special Needs Child Needs to be PLANNED.
This is what estate planning was made for. You can do something right now to ensure your special needs child has the proper care for the rest of his or her life. As you consult with your attorney to create a special needs trust or other estate planning tools, take into consideration the following:
The amount of financial support your special needs child will require over his or her life.
You should start by calculating how much support you are providing now and then think about the support they will need as they reach adulthood and into their senior years. Consider if he or she will be able to provide any of their own support, or will rely on government benefits. Of course, you also need to estimate how much you are able to give.
Governmental benefits protection.
If your child already receives government benefits from Medicare or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), your plan will need to take this into consideration and not provide your child with too much income to disqualify them from these benefits. Usually this can be avoided through the creation of a special needs trust.
How your other children fit into your estate plan.
A vast majority of parents want to ensure equal treatment for all their children when it comes to an inheritance. Sometimes, with a special needs child, this is not possible if parents have limited financial resources. If this will be true for you, be sure you talk with your other children about your plan and discuss how distribution of other assets might even this up a little for them.
Who will manage your special needs child’s finances.
When you create a special needs trust, you will need to name a trustee or trustees to manage the trust assets for the benefit of your child. Choose someone you know who cares about your child and who is willing to assume the responsibilities of caring for him or her.
A Note from the Attorney, Stan Pierchoski:
The practice of law is a second career for me. After obtaining Master of Science degrees in both Nuclear and Mechanical Engineering, I worked in the Nuclear Power Industry for 15 years. Always having an interest in law, I attended and graduated from law school and founded the Pierchoski Law Firm in 2002 in Pulaski, TN. For several years I practiced as a criminal defense, trial attorney. After my parents passed I became interested in Trust and Estate Law and felt a strong calling to change my practice to the Estate Planning area.
For years I have been exclusively doing trust writing and wealth planning and have become proficient at it. Over the last several years my practice has evolved to serve all age groups including elders and Medicaid Planning. I am always open to your questions and am more than happy to chat with you about your concerns so give me a call or stop by my office. You’ll be glad you did!