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    Joshua and Laura Meier Newport Beach Trust and Estate Planning Attorneys Focused on Helping Families with Young Kids
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    Category Archives: Child with a disability

    Seven Powers A Court May Grant In a Conservatorship

    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 abilityYoungmanwithdownsyndrome 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:

    1. Fix the residence or specific dwelling of the young adult child.
    2. Have access to the confidential records and papers of the young adult child.
    3. Control the right of the young adult child’s right to enter into contracts.
    4. Give or withhold medical consent regarding the young adult child.
    5. Make decisions regarding education of the young adult child.
    6. Consent or withhold consent to marriage of the young adult child.
    7. 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.

    For more information about conservatorships, and whether this is something your young adult child may benefit from, contact your Newport Beach Estate Planning Law Firm today.  Meier Law Firm attorneys can help you understand the conservatorship process and help you decide if a conservatorship, or other legal alternatives, are best for you and your young adult child with a disability.

    We also want to offer you our free report that details everything you must know about Limited Conservatorships. Call our Client Services Director, Bonnie Johnson at 949.718.0420 or email her at to request your free report, or to schedule a private session with a Meier Law Firm attorney to discuss your options.

    Special Needs Trust: Protection for Those Who Need It the Most

    Families of those with disabilities – physical or mental – are typically concerned with the best way to fund the long-term financial and personal needs of their special needs loved one in a way that will secure a fulfilling life for them. The best vehicle to accomplish this goal is known as a Special Needs Trust (SNT). mother daughters

    A SNT can be customized to the special circumstances of each family facing the need to secure the future of a disabled family member, while keeping their access to government benefits like Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) intact.

    In fact, the best planned SNT will maximize the use of both private and governmental resources to benefit your disabled loved one.  Families can use their personal assets to provide for qualify of life enhancements like education, training, vacations, hobbies or pets as a secondary source of support to supplement government benefits to meet the basic needs of a disabled family member.

    Types of Special Needs Trusts

    The most prevalent type of SNT is the Supplemental Care SNT, which are designed to serve as a supplemental resource after government benefits have been exhausted. The assets placed into a SNT are not considered “available resources” for purposes of qualifying for government benefits.

    A General Support SNT is a trust that is set up to serve as the primary source of benefits, and will disqualify the beneficiary from receiving needs-based government benefits.

    Determining which type of SNT is best for a special needs beneficiary depends on whether the assets placed in the trust will last for the lifetime of the beneficiary.  If so, a General Support SNT could be appropriate. If not, a Supplemental Care SNT is the best choice since it allows the beneficiary to receive government benefits.

    Establishing a SNT

    To establish a SNT, the beneficiary must be disabled according to the guidelines established by the Social Security Act – i.e., unable to support themselves due to a disability – and also be under the age of 65 when the SNT is established.

    If the disabled person is over 65, a “pooled” SNT in which numerous disabled parties participate, is an option. Several states as well as charitable organizations make pooled SNTs available for this purpose.

    A trustee must be named for the SNT, and not all jurisdictions allow for family members to serve as trustees. In this case, a professional trustee such as a trust company or bank may be used to perform the fiduciary duties of the SNT.

    We can help you and your family plan for the future financial security of a special needs family member. Call your Newport Beach Estate Planning Attorneys at the Meier Law Firm today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk about an Achiever Your Dreams Planning Session, where we can identify the best strategies for you and your family to ensure your legacy of love and financial security.

    How to Ensure the Complete Protection and Well-Being for Your Child With A Disability

    If you are the parent of a child who has a physical, mental or developmental disability, there are extra considerations you must take into account when setting up a life and estate plan that will ensure your child’s complete protection and well-being.

    1. Your Child’s Physical Care

    If your child is under age 18, your estate plan should name both temporary and permanent guardians who can care for your child if you cannot due to your disability or death. You also should leave your guardians guidance on how to physically care for your child so their services and care are not disrupted or neglected should something happen to you.

    2. Your Child’s Financial Care

    Your child may be entitled to valuable government benefits (SSI and/or Medicaid) now or in the future because of their disability. Unfortunately, most of these benefits are available only to those with very limited means. This leaves you in a difficult position because leaving your child an inheritance could actually disqualify him or her from receiving important government benefits they would have otherwise been entitled to.

    Fortunately, you can establish a special needs trust for your child that allows you to leave your child an inheritance in such a way that does not disqualify him or her from receiving government benefits.  Because special needs trust are established for the purpose of supplementing government benefits, your child can have their basic needs paid for by their government benefits while having their special needs trust pay for their additional needs.

    3. Your Child’s Emotional Care

    You are an integral part of your child’s life and provide them physical, emotional, and financial care. It’s natural to worry about your child’s emotional needs and care, especially if something should happen to you and you could no longer care for them. One great way to express your love for your child and help ensure their emotional needs will continue to be met is to create a Memorandum of Intent. This legal document allows you to outline your child’s emotional needs and provide your insight to future caretakers so they will have guidance on how to meet your child’s emotional needs.

    If you have a child with a disability and need guidance on creating a life and estate plan that ensures their complete protection and well-being, contact a Newport Beach Trust and Estate Planning Attorney at Meier Law Firm. Our family trust attorneys care about your family and can help.  Because this planning is so important, we will provide your family a free Memorandum of Intent when you attend an Achieve Your Dreams Planning Session with us and mention this article.

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