Parents of special needs children need estate plan

While every parent should have an estate plan, it is especially important for parents of special needs children to plan their estate and ensure their is a trust tailored to the child with special needs. Many times children with special needs qualify for benefits such as Supplemental Security Income or Medicaid.

Medicaid benefit requirements might vary by state, but both are important to maintain, and extra income for a person that qualifies for these government benefits could put them at risk, or result in their reduction. A special needs trust can help ensure that these benefits are maintained. Not only is a funded trust important when estate planning, but so is a will.

Wills can help divide assets, but also help parents establish guardianship for their children, if the parents were to pass away before the children turn 18. This is equally important for a family with a special needs child.

Depending on a family's financial situation, the age of the child and the wishes of a parent, there might be a few different options to consider when forming a trust. Some trusts might even specify what instructions parents wish the guardian to follow. This can be an extremely important letter of intent if the child's special needs require very specific instructions. Speaking with an experienced Harrisburg estate planning attorney might be a wise decision.

They can help a family evaluate their situation and work with them to draft and finalize an estate plan that works best for their unique circumstances.

Source: The Fiscal Times, "Estate Planning Guide for a Special Needs Child," Sonya Stinson, July 10, 2013


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