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Law Offices of Christopher A. Benson, PLLC

Estate Planning For Parents Who Have a Special Needs Child

  • By: Christopher Benson
  • Published: February 23, 2014

Most people are concerned about providing for their children, but when you have special-needs children, it goes beyond just providing your children with a nest egg after your death. Special-needs children need both to be provided for in part or full, but also have someone who can supervise their care for the rest of their lives.

First, you need to manage your expectations about your child and their condition. These expectations may change both based on what your child proves capable of versus what doctors and other care professionals tell you is possible. The main questions you need to address are if your child will be self-sufficient, if they will require specialized care and what kind of assistance they will need throughout their life. You can continue to change and update your plans based on how these things change as they get older.

Secondly, get familiar with what public benefits your child will qualify for when they turn 18. Some of these benefits will require that your child be worth less than a certain amount in assets, so you’ll have to consider if the benefit is worth leaving assets directly to your child. A Special Needs Trust can help provide for your child while allowing them to still qualify for crucial benefits.

Also important is choosing the right guardian. You need to choose a guardian who will care for your child the same way you would. Your trust can provide the financial means for your guardian if needed, and also the incentive for them to follow your instructions precisely.

Finally, make sure you hire an attorney who understands your family, your situation and your wishes. The attorney should be able to help you decide on what kind of special-needs trust will suit your family best, and also your family dynamic. With a lot of planning and some care, you can come up with an arrangement that will help you rest easy.

Over the past 32 years, the Law Offices of Christopher A. Benson has helped more than 800 clients prepare and utilize simple and effective planning techniques to protect them and their families in order to avoid probate, save estate taxes, save money and save added emotional burden that comes from long term illness and/or death of a family member. Give us a call to schedule a free consultation to find out how we can help you and your family.

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