Special Needs Children: Proper Planning Can Preserve Assets to Support Them When You’re Gone
June 2, 2008
One of the most pressing issues for parents of a disabled child is worrying about what will happen to their child when they become incapacitated or die. This issue is so difficult that parents often procrastinate to the extent that nothing gets done until very late in life.
It is estimated that there are over 700,000 adults with disabilities who have parents over the age of 60 in the United States. This statistic reflects the need for people to plan in advance.
Once a plan is prepared, it is relatively easy to have it amended or changed. For instance, the selection of a guardian for a minor child may be about who is best able to suit the needs of the child at that age, and this may be the child’s grandparents or possibly a brother or sister of one of the parents. As time goes on, it may be more appropriate to appoint someone younger, such as an adult sibling of the disabled child.
In any event, decisions have to be made for the disabled child when his or her parents are no longer capable of caring for him or her. In preparing a plan, the usual documents should be completed, including a Health Proxy, Will, and Power of Attorney.
However, when a child is disabled, a simple “so-called” Will may not be sufficient to attend to that child’s needs. Therefore, a plan should be put together that may possibly include a Special Needs Trust designed to prevent the child from losing any available governmental benefits.
With proper planning, the Trust becomes the primary document that provides for the needs of the child to the extent to which medical care, food, and shelter, are not provided otherwise. The funds, therefore, become available for luxuries as opposed to necessities for the child, which may include massage therapy, vacations, companions, or a television. These items will hopefully enrich the life of the child in the future and provide for such additional things such as enhanced medical care, education, or social opportunities.
Parents must also consider the potential for future public benefits to ensure that they are not lost. …
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by: Hyman G. Darling, Esq.