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Creating an Estate Plan with Special Needs Children

An estate plan is essential for everyone, but it is particularly critical in the case of those with special needs children. As a parent of a child with special needs, you understand the time, energy, and financial support necessary to provide a stable, safe, and happy life. If you are no longer here to care for your child, you need to know that they will continue to have the love and support needed. You need an estate plan that specifically addresses these special needs. An experienced estate planning attorney will help you create an appropriate estate plan.

What are the Daily and Ongoing Needs of Your Child?

Every special needs child is different and has a unique set of needs. One of the first steps in creating an estate plan for special needs is establishing the child’s needs. Make a list of the daily activities necessary for your child’s health and care. An estate plan will need to identify these needs and provide a source of resolution for caring for your child. This is true even if you care for an adult son or daughter with special needs. Who will provide the daily care that they require? Where will the child live, and who will oversee their ongoing needs?

Provide for Guardianship

One of the essential things to plan for is the guardianship of your special needs child. You need to make sure that your child will have the ongoing care and support necessary when you are gone. Consider questions such as where you want your child to reside and what level of care is needed. Make a list of people who would be able and willing to take over these responsibilities in your absence. You may also need to consider how the child will respond to new people and new routines. Talk over your plans with the person you choose for guardianship to make sure they are ready to accept the responsibilities.

Establish a Trust

A special needs child or adult will have many financial requirements. Unfortunately, the child is not able to make financial decisions, and therefore, it is essential to establish a special needs trust. Providing financial support for the ongoing needs of a child can be challenging. In some cases, the child may require continued medical treatment and care as well as medications. A trust is a good way to provide for the child in a way that will allow for the responsible use of funds. You will want to specify the way money will be used and establish the level of care that your child should have after your death.

Failing to plan ahead can lead to disastrous results. When you have a special needs child counting on you, it is critical to plan ahead for their care after your death. An estate plan that includes a special needs child can be complex, and it is helpful to seek guidance from an experienced estate planning attorney. Call us today at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd at (608) 784-8310 or contact us online for an initial consultation to discuss your estate planning needs.

Published December 5, 2022
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