Making Estate Provisions For Your Adult Disabled Child

When engaging in estate planning to provide for a disabled adult child's care, there are several actions that can be considered. It's important to consult with an estate planning attorney who specializes in special needs planning to tailor the approach to your specific situation. Below are some common suggestions for estate moves to protect your child.

A Special Needs Trust

Establishing a special needs trust is often a central component of planning for a disabled adult child. A special needs trust is designed to hold and manage assets for the benefit of the disabled individual without jeopardizing their eligibility for government benefits such as Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This type of trust can provide for the child's supplemental needs, such as medical expenses, therapy, education, transportation, and recreation, beyond what public benefits cover.

Naming a Trustee 

Selecting a trustworthy and capable trustee is crucial for managing the special needs trust. The trustee should have a good understanding of the disabled child's needs and be capable of making sound financial and caregiving decisions on their behalf. It could be a family member, a trusted friend, or a professional trustee experienced in special needs planning.

Letter of Intent

A letter of intent is a document that provides detailed instructions, preferences, and personal information about the disabled adult child. It covers their daily routine, medical history, likes and dislikes, and any other relevant information that would help future caregivers understand and provide for their needs.

Guardianship or Conservatorship 

Depending on the individual's level of disability, it may be necessary to establish guardianship or conservatorship to have legal authority over their personal and financial affairs. This ensures that decisions regarding medical care, living arrangements, and financial management are made in their best interest.

Life Insurance 

Life insurance can be a useful tool for providing additional financial resources for the care of the disabled adult child. The policy proceeds can be directed to the special needs trust or used to fund ongoing expenses or support their caregiver.

Consider Government Benefits 

It's important to understand the impact of any inheritance or financial gifts on the disabled adult child's eligibility for government benefits. An experienced attorney can guide you through the rules and regulations to ensure that the estate plan is structured to preserve these benefits.

Each family's situation is unique, so it's crucial to work closely with professionals who specialize in special needs planning. They can help create a comprehensive estate plan that addresses the specific needs and goals of both the disabled adult child and the family. Speak to an estate lawyer near you to find out more.

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