If you have a child with a disability, then you are in the right place. Meier Law Firm offers comprehensive legal services to help you ensure your child would be completely protected if anything should happen to you. We also offer many resources and tools to help you build a wonderful future for your child. On a personal note, serving children with disabilities is a personal cause of our attorneys, Joshua and Laura Meier.
The legal needs for children with disabilities vary depending on their own unique situations. Meier Law Firm will take the time to really understand your child’s personality and needs, and assess what tools and protections your child would most benefit from. We help families establish a solid legal place that ensures the child will have the absolute best set-up and advantages possible, today and always.
Below are some of the legal protections your child may need, and an overview of how Meier Law Firm can help.
Special Needs Trusts
If you have a child with a disability, it is imperative that you give them money and resources in the right way so you do not inadvertently disqualify them, now or later, from qualifying for important government benefits such as SSI.
For parents who want to leave their child with a disability money upon their death, the best way to accomplish this is usually through a third-party special needs trust. The third party special needs trust allows parents to specify how the money should be used to their child, and what kind of lifestyle they wish their child to have, while also allowing the child to receive important government benefits.
The third party special needs trust is usually established through the parents’ revocable living trust, or through a third party stand-alone special needs trust. You should talk a Meier Law Firm attorney to decide which type of third party special needs trust makes the most sense for your family situation.
There is also another type of special needs trust, called a first party special needs trust. This trust is designed for children who already have money in their own name, perhaps through an inheritance given outside of a special needs trust, or from a legal settlement The first party trust is an effective tool to allow children to put their own money into a special needs trust so they can also qualify for benefits, however, due to payback provisions, it is much better for children to receive an inheritance from the get-go through a third party special needs trust.
Talk with Meier Law Firm today about your family’s unique situation, and to get more direction on what type of special needs trust makes the most sense for your family or child.
What happens when a child with a disability turns 18? The law says they are officially a legal adult, regardless of their disability, or their ability to independently handle their daily physical, social, medical, or financial care. For many situations, this legal change in status makes little to no sense, and can be detrimental to the young adult child with a disability.
For parents who know their young adult child with a disability is not capable or yet ready to handle the responsibilities of being an independent adult, seeking a limited conservatorship over their young adult child with a disability makes a lot of sense.
A limited conservatorship allows the parents of a child with a disability to essentially continue on as ‘guardian’ over their young adult child with a disability and have care, custody, and control of their young adult child with a disability. Parents must go through a court process to request such powers be legally granted to the parents, and in turn taken away from their young adult child.
Here are several powers a court may grant parents over their young adult child with a disability:
- Fix the residence or specific dwelling of the young adult child.
- Have access to the confidential records and papers of the young adult child.
- Control the right of the young adult child’s right to enter into contracts.
- Give or withhold medical consent regarding the young adult child.
- Make decisions regarding education of the young adult child.
- Consent or withhold consent to marriage of the young adult child.
- Control the young adult child’s social and sexual relationships (however courts are very reluctant to grant this specific power.)
Additionally, the court may grant powers to the parents over money or assets belonging to the young adult child.
The first step towards seeking a conservatorship is to talk with a Meier Law Firm attorney about your unique situation. We can help you decide if a conservatorship, or other alternatives, are best for your child and your family. We can also give you an overview of what to expect during the court process, and how we can assist. Our goal is to help you establish a legal plan that fosters a full and meaningful life for your child, and gives you confidence and peace knowing your child is completely safe and protected.
For more questions about how to protect and set up your child with a disability, you are warmly invited to contact our Client Services Director, Bonnie Johnson at 949-718-0420. Bonnie can help you set up a planning session with one of our attorneys or help you decide on the next best step for your family.