Careful Planning for Those With Special Needs
Estate planning to care for people with special needs

Probably the hardest thing for parents is the worry that comes with planning for a disabled child. We need extra planning for a loved one who has disabilities. Every year someone comes to me wanting to plan for a child or a sibling who has autism, has learning issues, suffers from psychosis, or has a head injury. Every parent that I’ve met with a special person is working very hard to give their loved one the best life has to offer. But they and I know that they will only live so long. Their child will have to be cared for after they are gone. Sometimes I see the brothers and sisters of the disabled child, after the parents are gone. They come to me as probate cases. If I tell you the things that went wrong, then you will appreciate why it is so important to plan.

Here is the perfect plan.

First, make a Will or a Living Trust, and leave money for the disabled person to a trustee of a Special Needs Trust. It must be written with specific provisions that allow the child to take advantage of state or federal government benefits, despite having your trust resources available. If it isn’t properly written, the state will require that the trust assets be consumed before public funds are applied.

Next, get the child diagnosed if it hasn’t already been done. Apply for Social Security benefits if the child is disabled.

And last, do everything possible to help this child perform at his/her optimum level. People who are using their talents, no matter how limited, are happiest!