Clarity Legal Group – Special Needs Planning Attorneys Who Care
All parents worry about their children’s physical, emotional, and financial well-being. If you are the parent of a child with special needs, however, those concerns take on heightened importance. For example, you may want to continue to help support your child when he/she reaches adulthood as well as ensure that your child has sufficient financial resources available in the event something happens to you. Directly gifting assets to your child, however, could create more problems than it solves. The special needs planning attorneys at Clarity Legal Group understand the desire to care for and protect your child with special needs and we are committed to helping you do so within your comprehensive estate plan.
Why Is Planning Important?
Your child can look forward to living a much more independent life as an adult than would have been possible several decades ago; however, despite the advances in science, technology, and medicine that help make that possible, your child may continue to depend on specialized, and often expensive, medical and/or therapeutic care as an adult. Federal and state programs may help with the financial costs of such assistance. However, if you have the financial resources to continue helping your adult child, you may jeopardize his/her eligibility for vital assistance programs such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). These programs have both income and asset limits that impact eligibility. Once your child is legally considered an adult, any financial help you offer will count against those limits, potentially causing your child to lose access to important benefits.
A Special Needs Planning Attorney Can Help
Fortunately, there are ways to continue to help your child without jeopardizing his/her eligibility for state and federal assistance programs. Certain estate planning tools can protect assets you want your child to have and ensure those assets are only used to help supplement the assistance your child receives from government programs. Best of all, you do not have to worry that providing financial assistance to your child with special needs will result in your child being disqualified for essential assistance programs.
What Might an Estate Plan for a Person with Special Needs Include?
Special Needs Trust
A special needs trust is a legal document that ensures the financial security of an individual with special needs. It enables parents or caregivers to set aside money for the person’s care without affecting their eligibility for government benefits. The trust can be managed by a trustee, who is responsible for administering the funds and ensuring that they are used for the beneficiary’s benefit.
Guardianship is another critical component of an estate plan for a person with special needs. It is a legal arrangement that appoints a guardian to make decisions on behalf of the individual with special needs when they become incapacitated or are unable to make decisions for themselves. Guardianship provides parents or caregivers with the legal authority to make decisions about their loved one’s health, education, and finances.
Letter of Intent
A letter of intent is a document that outlines the individual with special needs care and support needs. It provides a guide for the guardian or trustee on how to provide care for the person with special needs. The letter of intent can include information about the person’s medical conditions, dietary requirements, favorite activities, and more.
If you believe a loved one could benefit from special needs planning, contact us to set up a consultation. In a special needs representation, we can help you and your family ensure that your assets, combined with government assistance, are maximized to best care for the person in your family with a disability. Our goal is to preserve assets to maximize the quality of life.
The special needs planning attorneys at Clarity Legal Group look forward to helping you incorporate a special needs planning component into your overall estate plan. Contact our office today by calling 919-484-0012 or filling out our online contact form.