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Estate Planning for Parents of Children with Disabilities

If you have a child with a disability, the need to plan for your future, and your child’s future is absolutely critical. At any given moment something could happen to you and therefore, leave your child at risk. Whether it is death, illness, disability, or a debilitating accident that could leave you unable to care for your child the need to be prepared for the unexpected is critical.

Creating and planning ahead may seem expensive, or unnecessary, but having a properly funded estate plan in place can save a lot of money (and, headache) in the future. Planning ahead will provide peace of mind to you, your family, friends, and child(ren).

Parents of Children with Disabilities – 5 Potential Challenges to Think About:

  1. How do you leave future fund benefits for your child without losing public benefits?
  2. How can you assure that an estate plan includes a properly funded and managed trust?
  3. How can you best allocate the necessary funds for your disabled child while, dividing your estate equally amongst your other children?
  4. How can you assure that there are enough funds available to potentially meet the future needs of your disabled child?
  5. Who will be left to care for your disabled child? And, how will you best not overburden your other children with the responsibility?

What you need is a “Supplemental Needs Trust” or a “Special Needs Trust”

By having a Supplemental Needs Trust developed you can rest assured that the necessary and allocated funds for your special needs child are properly being managed at the time of your passing and/or inability to fully care for said child. A Special Needs Trust can also help preserve one’s public assistance eligibility for example; those person’s receiving Medicaid, public housing, therapies, educational assistance, etc.

How To Choose a Trustee for Your Special Needs Child

Choosing a trustee for a special needs child quite possibly is one of the hardest decisions you will ever have to make. A trustee’s duties include, but are not limited to fulfilling financial obligations such as; investments, paying of bills, and preparing tax documents. An assigned trustee must also fully understand the public assistance options being made available to the named beneficiary. In a sense a special needs trustee must familiarize him or herself with the special needs, and how to best meet those needs if/when the time should come that he or she is left to fulfill such a role.

It is important to note that while taking on the role of a special needs trustee is no light matter, he or she can always hire assistance where he or she sees best fit. If budgeting is not his or her thing, hiring an accountant to handle such duties can certainly lighten the load.

It is important to choose a trustee who is of strong mind, and who will at all times have the beneficiary’s best interest at heart.

Should no one come to mind to fulfill such duties, you may also consider hiring an independent trustee: this maybe an attorney, an institution, or a professional trustee. While hiring and independent trustee has many benefits, such as, their experience and expertise in managing and overseeing such trusts. There are often some stipulations that may apply and an added expense as well. This typically includes one charging a percentage of the trust for his or her fee for service.

Regardless of whom you choose as a trustee for your special needs child it is important to carefully evaluate your options. And, just because someone seems right today – doesn’t mean they will be so tomorrow. Corriveau Law can help you evaluate your options, and help you make the best choice.

For more information on Special Needs Trust, and securing the future of your loved ones contact Corriveau Law today, for your free initial consultation!