Caring for Children with Special Needs
Special Needs Trusts
For families with loved ones who are disabled or have special needs, the estate planning process is more involved – and definitely more critical.
The latest statistics show that five percent of minor children have some sort of disability, and the responsibility of caring for these children make estate planning essential. In addition to specialized health care, these children usually need special schooling and intensive therapy, all of which comes at a cost.
We are grateful to work with so many families to create supplemental needs trusts to ensure their loved ones will be taken care of in the best way possible.
What we do.
Envision Your Child's Future
Parents need to think about the kind of life they envision for their child. Will he or she be able to work or live independently? The answers to these questions will form the foundation of your plan.
Eligibility for Public Benefits.
In order to meet eligibility requirements for Medicaid and Social Security Supplemental Income programs, a person with special needs or other disabilities must have limited income and assets. This makes it imperative that a child who could benefit from these services not have any assets titled in his or her own name – meaning they should not be listed as beneficiaries on life insurance policies, retirement accounts or plans, in trusts, wills or pensions.
A Supplemental Needs Trust
A supplemental needs trust, also known as a special needs trust, can be established by a parent or grandparent for the care of a child or grandchild of any age in lieu of leaving an inheritance, which would likely disqualify a special needs person from receiving necessary government assistance.
Your Other Children
Parents of a special needs child who also have other children are often tempted to leave their assets to the other children with the understanding that they will take care of their disabled brother or sister.
However, if one of those children gets a divorce, files bankruptcy or pre-deceases the disabled child, those assets could go to an ex-spouse, creditors or others.