An Introduction to Special Needs Planning
Estate planning by parents who have children with disabilities involves many challenges, including the following:
- How do you leave funds for the benefit of the child without causing the child to lose important public benefits?
- How do you make sure that the funds are well managed?
- How do you make sure that your other children are not over-burdened with caring for the disabled sibling, and that any burdens fall relatively evenly among the siblings?
- What is fair in terms of distributing your estate between your disabled child and your other children?
- How do you make sure there’s enough money to meet your disabled child’s needs?
Often, parents of children with special needs try to resolve these issues by leaving their estates to their other children, leaving nothing to the disabled children. They have a number of reasons for this approach:
1) the disabled child shouldn’t receive anything because she can’t manage money and would lose her benefits;
2) she doesn’t need any inheritance because she will be taken care of by the public benefits she receives; and
3) the other children will take care of her.
When addressing a special needs planning situation, be sure to speak with an attorney who understands the nuances of the special needs planning process. Elville and Associates’ Stephen R. Elville, J.D., LL.M., Principal, is a member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners and is well-versed in the special needs planning arena. Contact our office today with any questions related to your special needs situation.