Most every parent regards their role as protector with the utmost gravity, but when you have a child with special needs your efforts become even more important. You will not only have to consider their disability while you raise them but also for the time once you have passed away. Luckily, you can build guidelines for your child’s care and financial stability into your estate plan. The following tips can help you prepare for your meeting with an estate planning lawyer.
3 Estate Planning Tips for Parents of Children with Special Needs
1. Ensure the Inheritance Doesn’t Disqualify Them from Public Benefits
As your child ages, they may become eligible for public benefits, such as those offered through the Social Security disability program. Therefore, it’s important that your contribution does not interfere with this. In most cases, you can prevent the assets you leave your child from negating their eligibility for benefits by setting them aside in a special needs trust. However, it may be worth investigating the specific benefits your child might be eligible for to determine if their inheritance will be more of a hindrance than a help.
2. Choose the Right Trustee
Once you form a special needs trust, you must select an individual to oversee the distribution of those assets to your child. They should be someone you genuinely trust to guide your child with special needs and act in their best interests. For example, you may want to leave this role to a beloved sibling or the child’s godparent. They will have “sole and absolute” discretion when managing the trust and should hold the beneficiary in the highest regard.
3. Designate a Successor Guardian
In most cases, parents can make their estate plan knowing their child will manage their own day-to-day life once they turn 18. However, your special needs child may still need in-person support from a dedicated guardian after becoming a legal adult. Therefore, it is crucial to choose a guardian who is willing and available to take over your role. Typically, you will want to select someone much younger than you, who can be expected to remain in good health and of sound mind for a while after your passing. You may also want to choose a family member who has a personal attachment to your child, who will provide care with pride and patience. Once you have a guardian in mind, it is essential to speak with them and confirm their willingness before adding them to your estate plan.
If you are ready to draft a detailed estate plan that accounts for your child with special needs, reach out to Achille Law, P.C. located at 379 Main Street, Brookville, PA, 15825. Attorneys John G. Achille, Joseph H. Ellermeyer & Mark A Wallisch provide dedicated counsel to clients who need legal assistance, whether they are managing an estate or fighting for your rights when you are injured. To learn more about their various practice areas, visit their website. You can also call (814) 849-6701 to schedule a free consultation with one of their professionals.