Posted on Aug 22, 2023

estate planning for special needs

How A Will Can Protect Your Child With Disabilities

Estate planning is crucial for the one in five families who care for children with special needs. According to a 2022 study, what will happen to their children if they get sick stands among these parents’ biggest worries.  They wonder what will happen to their children if they can no longer provide their care and support. Another survey showed that 69% of special needs families expressed fear about providing lifetime assistance to their disabled dependents.

Getting a Will and other important estate planning documents are among the steps you can take to help alleviate these concerns. A well-drafted estate plan can help ensure that your loved one with special needs has financial protection and continued support.

Don’t Delay Doing Your Estate Plan

41% of survey participants indicated that they would delay making a Will until they experienced a health diagnosis or concern. However, you may be putting your loved one with special needs at great risk if you delay making a Will. 

Avoid waiting until your health, or the health of your loved one with special needs, worsens. Having a Will and estate plan in place ahead of time can make navigating health challenges easier. If you prepare for the future, you won’t have to rush to make arrangements or risk passing away without a Will.

Power of Attorney 

As part of your estate plan, you also execute a power of attorney (POA). This legal document allows you to designate someone to make decisions for you in the event that you are no longer able to do so. They might manage financial support for your loved one with disabilities, making financial transactions on your behalf. You would therefore want to appoint someone you trust implicitly to serve in this role.

For someone with a disability, having a power of attorney in place can help preserve their autonomy. Imagine that you face an adverse health event and there is no power of attorney in place. The court may need to appoint a guardian to make decisions for your loved one. 

Note that individuals with medical needs can also name a health care proxy. This appointee is someone who can represent their best interests when it comes to medical decisions.

Guardianship: Selecting Someone to Care for Your Child

You may also may wish to name someone to become your child’s guardian. You can determine who will care for your child and ensure that your child’s guardian is someone you trust. 

Special Needs Trust

While a Will is a basic part of your estate plan that can help you provide for your loved one with special needs after you pass, a trust can also protect their assets. Making a special needs trust includes appointing a responsible individual to act as the trustee. 

The trust can pay for things public benefits do not cover, such as recreation and education. At the same time, a trust preserves your loved one’s ability to qualify for public benefits. Setting up a special needs trust can also ensure that they receive continued support during their lifetime. 

Read the full news article by Elder Law Answers here.

Take the First Step

At Monteforte Law P.C., we understand the unique challenges that come with planning for a child with special needs. That's why we're dedicated to providing comprehensive and compassionate special needs planning services to families. Our experienced attorneys understand the importance of appropriately protecting your child's financial future and ensuring their ongoing care. 

To help families navigate this complex process, we created a Special Needs Planning Guide that we are certain will be invaluable to you! Download our Special Needs Planning Guide HERE and take the first step toward creating a comprehensive plan for your family. Our guide is a valuable resource that can help you ensure the well-being of your special needs family member and provide you with peace of mind.

If you're ready to take the next step and sit down with us, schedule your Strategic Planning Session by calling our office at 978-487-5141, or schedule your session online!

Mia Skorput
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