NY Attorney Helping with Estate Planning for Special Needs Families
If you have a child with special needs, you must take extra caution when creating your estate plan. It does not matter whether your child with special needs is a minor or an adult. The goal is to ensure that, in the future, your child receives his or her needs-based public benefits, such as Medicare or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
When creating your estate plan, these are just a few of the many considerations that you must have in mind. You will need to consider the child’s age at the time when you plan, his or her competency level, and other familial goals. No matter what, you want to provide for your children and ensure that they are taken care of – even if you are not there to do so yourself.
What is the Point of Special Needs Planning?
Special needs planning is what preserves your child’s access to public benefits and enhances your child’s quality of life. This is useful for ensuring that your child has access to lifetime funds, protection of eligibility, and management of money.
Planning Options That May Be Available to You and Your Family
There are several options for creating an estate plan that cares for your child with special needs. These options include:
- Disinheriting Your Child: This is one of the simplest options, but it will not enrich your child’s life. Most DIY websites will suggest this option, but an estate planning attorney can help find ways for your child to inherit funds and still receive government benefits.
- Give the Estate to Other Children: If you have more than one child, consider giving your estate to the other children, with the understanding that they would provide for the child with special needs. There are risks to doing this, however. If siblings have poor credit, file for bankruptcy, or go through divorce, the estate could dwindle down – leaving your special needs child without the funds and care needed.
- Leave an Inheritance to the Child: This will have a negative impact on your child’s ability to receive government benefits. Therefore, you should only do so if you have enough inheritance for your child to cover all associated costs for care – from medical to in-home care. If the inheritance is not substantial, you could leave your child without anything.
- Create a Special Needs Trust: This is the smartest option, but you will need the services of an attorney who has experience with this type of trust. A special needs trust will allow your child to receive inheritance, but also qualify for public assistance and government benefits.
Speak with an Estate Planning Attorney About Your Special Needs Trust
If you want to provide for your child with special needs long after you are gone, it is in your best interest to contact an estate planning attorney.