- General, Law

Estate Planning Attorneys Can Help Plan Your Child’s Future

If you have children, you know how important it’s to make plans for them in case you pass away.  You never know what the future holds so that you must make arrangements for that will care for your children after you’re gone, while nobody wishes to think about this potential.  If you’ve got a child with special needs, planning for your future is much more important.  Use these suggestions to ensure your loved ones are cared for In case you have a special family situation.

What’s Guardianship?

In typical situations, parents will appoint a guardian — someone who will take care of their kids until they reach age 18.  However, in households with special needs kids, sometimes the responsibility doesn’t end when the child reaches age 18.  Based on the child’s requirements, they could call for support or full-time medical attention well.

Guardianship of a special needs child can call for a good deal of patience, which means that you need to pick your guardian carefully.  Oftentimes, parents who’ve performed these daily care jobs have support systems in place, however, they might not have the support, patience or coping mechanisms set up to care for a child with special needs.  Ensure that they fully understand what guardianship may mean to their life, before you name someone.

What Makes A Special Needs Trust Important?

A routine trust can help provide for your dependents after you are gone.  Money is placed in a trust, where it’s held before the child reaches a particular age — generally 18, 21 or even 25.  Before then, a trustee helps to ensure that the money is used for expenses, such as educational and healthcare expenses.

For those who have a special needs kid, however, his or her requirements are often quite different.  Some kids qualify for government assistance and whether the money is put into a trust that is regular, it might need to be emptied before he or she qualifies for any government assistance.  A special needs trust can’t be relieved, which may help protect assets, while still letting the kid.

Who Can Assist With These Issues?

Some parents believe that they can only download some kinds of the Internet and also have trust and guardianship papers done in only a few minutes.  However, this is a terrible idea.  You’re protecting what’s most valuable in your life — your children.  Because of this, you must contact an experienced special needs attorney.  She or he will have the ability to help you determine what your family requires so that your kids will be taken care of when you are gone.

To discover a local estate planning lawyer, ask your friends, coworkers and family members should they have any recommendations.  Possessing a personal recommendation will help make sure you’ll be pleased with the support from a lawyer in which you can be sure your family is protected.

How to Guard Your Child

If you are a parent of a child with special needs, you have probably dedicated much of your life to exploring, advocating and providing for the very best care for the child.  So naturally, you might be concerned about what will happen when you are able to supervise your child’s attention due to declining health, death or illness.  Luckily, there are steps you can take to help make sure your child has adequate financial resources alongside a dedicated support system.  Here are six places to help protect your child’s future.

1.  Include your child.  To the extent speak to your child about his or her future.  Is her job sustainable in the long run, if used?  Does he feel comfortable managing everyday finances?  Where does he naturally turn to for support?  Understanding your child’s fantasies and being sensible about her or his skills will help you craft a long-term support strategy.

2.  Supply guardianship and decision-making support.  If your child needs assistance in making legal, fiscal or medical choices, it is important to obtain guardianship and/or conservatorship from the courts.  With this authority, you are able to designate who must have this responsibility when and if you are able to satisfy the role.  Communicate with the family members or delegate who will oversee and supply support for your child’s attention, so that they know what to anticipate.  It is essential for your delegate to understand at which she or he may need some assistance, and what decisions your kid could make independently.

3.  Make an estate plan.  Placing an estate strategy is key to making sure your wishes are followed closely and may help your heirs avoid probate court.  Ask the estate planning attorney and your financial adviser to help you include protections.  Provide care instructions in the event of your death or if an accident leaves you unable to manage your child’s care.

4.  Save strategically.  A tax-advantaged ABLE account, made by the Reaching a Better Life Experience Act in 2014, is 1 way to create a cushion.  Earnings grow tax-deferred, and money can be withdrawn whenever they are used to satisfy expenses to your kid.  The legislation defines”qualified expenses” widely, allowing funds to cover the expenses of health care, assistive technology, housing, education, legal fees or personal care services.  Everyone can contribute so that means grandparents, siblings, family friends can help grow this nest egg.  Your financial advisor can help you decide whether eligibility requirements are met by your child and examine yearly contribution limits to assist you to optimize this source.

5.  Establish your Partner.  If you’d like to leave money to provide for your child, think about if setting a special needs trust makes sense for your situation.  Simply naming your child as a beneficiary in your estate can undermine his or her eligibility for government benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid.  There are several types of trust accounts that permit your kid to keep government assistance, often by providing funds directly via a trustee or to your maintenance service.  There are benefits and considerations for each option, so ask your attorney for guidance.

6.  Research living structures.  If your child is living in your home, explore housing options which will provide a safe environment tailored for their abilities.  Assessing your choices is essential, even if you intend for your child to live with another household member or a sibling.  Circumstances such as divorce, job loss or sickness could prevent your family member from providing.

Government Benefits Are Protected 

A special needs trust (SNT) is a trust designed to supplement the requirements of a person whose mandatory medical or living expenses are compensated through programs like Medicaid or SSI.  Because these programs are “means-tested” — based in part on earnings — an SNT allows the beneficiary to keep on receiving aid despite an increase in assets or income.  Generally, the extra funds are set into the SNT which then pays for the beneficiary’s supplemental needs such as consumer and recreation goods not covered by government benefits.  Here are a couple of examples:

Divorce and the disabled child.  Risk termination or a decrease in benefits when a parent is required to pay child support.  Receipt of child support may reduce SSI benefits by one third for the buck for kids and kids under age 18 age.  Into an SNT which diverts the income, the child support can be placed Rather than the capital being transferred outright.  Since SSI provides for meals, shelter and utility costs, the SNT can cover additional benefits such as holidays, electronics or specialized vehicles — while keeping the child’s entitlement to government benefits.

Personal Injury Settlements.  Personal Injury settlements are designed in part, to pay for the individual’s future medical expenses and requirements.  A portion of the settlement may also be given as a”punishment” for the defendant’s wrongful conduct.  However, disabled individuals receiving Medicaid and SSI risk disqualification.  Medicaid may have a right of recovery against the portion of compensation.  To avoid disqualification from these types of important government benefits, an SNT can be established to accept the net settlement proceeds.  The money placed in the SNT can be utilized to purchase goods and services that enhance, rather than replace authorities’ benefits.  SNT funds can be used to buy vehicles to plan vacations for individuals and also to present amenities including beauty services or consumer goods.

Third-Party SNTs.  As outlined previously, A third party special needs trust involves the same concepts.  On the other hand, the SNT is financed with a third party for the benefit of the individual’s assets.  For example, another individual who’s not accountable for the beneficiary, friend or grandparent can establish an SNT to cover the needs of the other.  Along with helping the handicapped individual, a grantor who funds a third party SNT for the benefit of their child may be able to prevent the five year lookback period due to their Medicaid qualification.