Estate Planning Law

Estate Planning For Families With Special Needs Children

The idea of planning for the future is terrifying for most people. The unknown gives us anxiety, and the thought of someone else making decisions about our lives is overwhelming. However, planning for the future is very important in order to ensure that you are taking care of your family and your loved ones. There are so many things to consider when planning for the future, from the cost of raising a child and the level of financial support you and your partner can offer to your children.

Even though it may seem scary, planning for the future is essential to ensure that your family is taken care of and that your loved ones are looked after. The best way to plan for the future is by taking an overview of your family situation and identifying any risks. If you have children with special needs, there are a few provisions you’ll want to consider, but estate planning is largely the same.

Decide How You Will Provide Care

One of the most important things to consider when planning for the future for a family with special needs children is how you will provide care for them. This can range from hiring caregivers to making sure that your children have a support network of family and friends. 

Caregiving can be expensive, and you may have to factor in the cost of prescription medications, health care, therapy, and other ongoing treatment. In order to determine how much care you will need, it is best to assess your situation individually and jointly with your partner. This will help you identify any issues that you may have, such as your health or your financial situation. It is also important to consider the caregivers you will use, so you can choose the best fit for you. Similarly, it is important to consider who will provide care for your partner so that you will have a contingency plan in place if one of you gets sick.

Learn About Your Child’s Needs

Part of planning for the future is learning about your child’s needs. This may seem like common sense, but it is often the case that an individual does not truly understand their needs. As parents, it’s easy to get wrapped in the specifics of their special needs care that you miss less obvious needs. This isn’t anything to be ashamed of. It simply means that you’ve prioritized the more serious needs of your child—and that’s just one of the many marks of a great parent! 

Think about all facets of your child’s needs outside of traditional care. If you do not know what your child’s needs are, then it can be extremely difficult to plan for them. It is important to get to know your child as an individual and to identify any areas of their needs that are specific to them.

Talking to specialists and therapists is also a great way to get to know your child’s needs. This will allow you to hear your child’s needs and identify any gaps in your knowledge that you may have. It is also important to make sure that your child is aware of the fact that you are planning for the future. 

This can be a delicate balance. On the one hand, you want to make sure that your child understands the facts about their future, such as what they need to prepare for in the event that something happens to you. But you also want to give your child the peace of mind that they will be cared for, too.

Protect Your Financial Assets

Another important aspect of planning for the future is protecting your financial assets. It is important to have a plan in place to ensure that your family is taken care of. This means that you need to make sure that you have a safety net in place. Financial assets are extremely important in planning for the future. Your estate planning attorney can assist you in making sure that your child is protected with the capital necessary to provide for their special needs.

Preserve the Benefits Eligibility of Your Special Needs Child

One of the most important aspects of planning for the future is preserving the benefits eligibility of your special needs child. If something happens to you or your spouse and you’re no longer able to care for your child, you want to make sure there is a plan in place to preserve your child’s eligibility. Your estate planning attorney can work with you to secure your child’s special needs benefits, which include:

  • Medicaid
  • SNAP
  • SSI

As you may likely be well aware, many benefits are contingent on limited assets. There are programs in place, such as ABLE, that allow those who became disabled prior to turning 26 years of age to reserve as much as $15,000 a year via an interest-earning savings account. And they can take advantage of this without fear of it affecting their benefits eligibility.

Trusts to Consider for Your Special Needs Child

Choose the right type of trust for your family situation and your financial situation. This will help to ensure that your child receives the right type of care and that you and your partner are protected financially.

First-Party Trust: This trust doesn’t restrict how your special needs child receives and uses the assets you leave to them.

Third-Party Special Needs Trust: This is a trust that’s usually set up by loved ones and can hold assets of various origins, including income-generating property, life insurance, or an investment portfolio. Your child can use these assets for anything they need.

Pooled Special Needs Trust: This trust is one that is formed from the combined assets of multiple family members. Each beneficiary has a sub-account that is funded for your special needs child.

Choosing the right type of trust is important because it will help to ensure that your family receives the care that they need while also protecting your financial assets.

Ready to Speak with an Estate Planning Attorney? Call Doane & Doane Today

Doane & Doane Attorneys at Law are committed to assisting you with all of your estate planning needs. We invite you to contact us today to discuss how we can best serve you. Call 561-656-0200 or submit our contact form to get started.