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.