Every time you have a child, you should change your estate plan. However, if you have any children with special needs you need to ensure that you craft a plan with the special needs in mind. Understanding the basics of estate planning for children with special needs, you will ensure that your child is looked after when you are gone.
Using A Special Needs Trust
If you have a child with special needs, you have to employ the right tools when planning your estate. One of the most commonly used tools is a Special Needs Trust. This type of trust has been specially developed with children and adults with special needs in mind. The trust aims at meeting your child’s financial needs while ensuring that they are able to remain eligible for government assistance and health care.
As the funds will be held in a trust, your child will not be able to directly access them. This will also ensure that the funds do not count as an asset or income which is considered when determining eligibility for certain benefits. The trustee of the trust will use the funds to meet the needs of your child as they grow older.
Choosing A Guardian
When planning your estate, you will need to carefully consider who will be designated as the guardian of your child. This person will generally be in charge of the funds that you have left for your child and will need to have their best interests in mind. They should also be someone who is able to handle their special needs.
Before you name a guardian in your estate planning, you need to discuss this with the potential guardians. This will help them understand their responsibilities and help you ensure that your child will have adequate assistance in their new living situation.
Document Instructions And Assistance
As part of your estate planning, you should document any special care instructions for your child. This will include their medications as well as the mental and physical care directions people should know. You should also consider making a video of any assistance that your child needs as this could be a great benefit to any potential guardian.
Estate planning for families with special needs children is different to standard estate planning. The use of a trust can make this more complicated which is why it is recommended that you hire an attorney to help you.