A recent “Disability Scoop” article reported on a study in the upcoming April edition of the journal Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities showing that few parents plan for the future of their children with disabilities. This is not be surprising considering the complexity of planning involved, and the lack of resources afforded these parents. However, the end result is still the same as with estate planning in general: the person who knows the child and child’s needs best is leaving the future of their child up to someone who does not know the child. In other words, future decisions are left to the court.
Deciding on residential placement, guardianship, preparing a special needs trust—parents need help navigating this overwhelming journey. As a special needs planning attorney who prepares special needs trusts, my focus is on securing the financial future of a loved one with special needs without jeopardizing means-tested benefits, typically, Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income. Planning is particularly important since many children with special needs are living longer, and outliving their parents.
There is more to planning for your child’s future than securing his or her financial future with trusts, however, if your child has a disability. Where will your child live? Who will be his or her caregiver? There are many options available to explore, but knowing where to start is key. My recommendation is to start with The Arc: For People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
To learn more, or if you would like more information on special needs planning, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.