Estate Planning for Parents of Children with Disabilities: Six Key Issues to Consider

Estate planning is something that everyone needs to consider, but for parents of children with disabilities, it is especially critical.  You will need to not only plan out how to distribute your assets after you pass, but also what type of care your child or children need, and who should be responsible for providing it.  Start by going through the following key issues that you need to cover in your planning.

  1. Your Child’s Guardian(s) – If your child is under the age of 18 and/or will need someone to help handle their financial and health-related decisions, you need to have a legal guardian(s) designated.  This is extremely important, and requires a lot of thought.  This is the person who will be responsible for managing any money or other assets on behalf of your child (known as the “guardian of the property”), and also making important medical decisions for them (known as the “guardian of the person” and may be a different individual). Choosing someone you trust, who will act in your child’s best interest is critical.
  2. Plan for Your Own Disability or Incapacity – In the event that you are injured or become disabled, you need to have plans as to how you will be cared for.  In addition, you need to make sure your child is cared for.  Making plans to take care of any expenses related to this situation should be done in advance.  Make sure you specify who you want making decisions for your medical care.
  3. Health Care Directive – One option you can choose is to have a health care directive in place.  This can help make it clear what types of medical care you want, and don’t want, in certain situations.  You may also want to consider including a Living Will, which specifies the conditions under which you want life-prolonging procedures to be withheld or withdrawn.
  4. Document All Income – In many cases a disabled child will be receiving income from a variety of sources including a trust, social security, Medicare, and possibly your estate after you pass.  Make sure each of these incomes is listed, along with all the information about them, so it can be managed properly by your child’s guardian.
  5. Gather Critical Information – In the event that you should die or become disabled unexpectedly, it is important that your child’s guardian has everything they need to provide the proper care right away.  With this in mind, you should have a file that lists things like doctor’s information, medications, schedules and personal information about your child.  Keep this in a place where the caregiver will have easy access to it in the event that it is needed.
  6.  Planning for Wealth Transfer upon Death / Special Needs Trusts – If something were to happen to you as a parent, do you have a plan in place for where your assets would go?  If you plan to leave assets to a disabled child, it is critical to consider special needs trust planning.  Without the use of a special needs trust, assets left to a child with a disability may disqualify the child from continuing eligibility in a government-funded program, e.g. SSI, SSDI.

Estate planning is a difficult process for many people.  When planning for a disabled child, it can become even harder.  But this is not something you want to put off until it is too late… or it could cause serious problems for your child.  If you have any questions or want to learn more about estate planning, contact us today to discuss your needs!

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES – ESTATE PLANNING:

3 Essential Tools For Business Estate Planning
3 Reasons To Review Your Estate Planning Now
7 Damaging Misconceptions About Florida Estate Planning
Avoid The High Cost Of Bad Estate Planning
Business Succession: An Important Part Of Your Estate Planning
Diy Estate Planning: Is It Worth The Risks?
Estate Planning 101: Five Essential Steps In Creating A Living Trust
Estate Planning 101: How To Have Difficult Conversations With Your Loved Ones
Estate Planning 101: If You Own Firearms, Consider Creating A Gun Trust
Estate Planning 101: The Advantages And Disadvantages Of An Irrevocable Trust
Estate Planning Basics: Why Avoiding Probate Is Preferable
Estate Planning Beyond The Will: The Importance Of Powers Of Attorney
Estate Planning For Business Owners
Estate Planning: 3 Tips To Help You Begin
Estate Planning: Do You Have A Plan For Your Digital Assets?
Estate Planning: It’s Never Too Early To Begin
Estate Planning: Understanding The Role Of Executor
Four Disastrous Estate Planning Mistakes To Avoid
High Net-Worth Estate Planning: 5 Potential Methods To Help Minimize Estate Tax Liability
How Divorce Affects Your Estate Plans
Isn’t Estate Planning For The Elderly Or The Ultra Wealthy?
New Year’s Resolution – Time To Update My Estate Plan
Secure Your Legacy: Five Often Overlooked Questions That Must Be Answered By Your Estate Plan
Top Estate Planning Excuses
What Are Some Of The Most Effective Estate Planning Strategies For Asset Preservation?
What To Bring When You Meet With Your Estate Planning Attorney
Why Do I Need To Hire An Estate Planning Attorney?

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES – TRUSTS:

PROBATE & TRUST ADMINISTRATION – AN OVERVIEW
A BRIEF Q&A ON SPECIAL NEEDS TRUSTS
CHRISTOPHER D.
DOES YOUR LOVED ONE NEED A SPECIAL NEEDS TRUST?
ESTATE PLANNING: IT’S NEVER TOO EARLY TO BEGIN
EXECUTING AN ESTATE: 8 KEY DUTIES OF THE EXECUTOR
NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION – TIME TO UPDATE MY ESTATE PLAN
PAINLESS PROBATE
SECURE YOUR LEGACY: FIVE OFTEN OVERLOOKED QUESTIONS THAT MUST BE ANSWERED BY YOUR ESTATE PLAN
SPENDTHRIFT OR DISCRETIONARY TRUST – WHICH ONE DO I NEED?
SPENDTHRIFT PROVISION: PROTECTING BENEFICIARIES FROM THEMSELVES
WHAT IS A DIRECTED TRUST?
WHY DO I NEED TO HIRE AN ESTATE PLANNING ATTORNEY?

Written by John Mangan, Esq.

John Mangan, Esq.

I’m an attorney in Palm City, FL, and I serve clients throughout Martin County, including Stuart, Palm City, Hobe Sound, and Indiantown, as well as those in St. Lucie County, the Treasure Coast, Palm Beach County, and other parts of Florida. The Law Offices of John Mangan, P.A., is an innovative firm providing estate planning services to clients in Florida. We focus primarily on wills, trusts, asset protection, guardianship, and probate administration.