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Everything You Need to Know About Estate Planning for Special Needs Children

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Everything You Need to Know About Estate Planning for Special Needs Children

Estate planning is an important step every family must take. Unfortunately, 64% of Americans have not made a will. If you’re one of them, you need to think about estate planning and get started on your plan now.

This is especially true if you have a special needs child. This adds other factors to consider when making your estate plan.

Here’s what you need to know about special needs planning.

How to Start Your Special Needs Planning

Here are the steps you need to take to complete your plan.

  1. Get Organized.

You’ll need to collect information about your financials, the names of medical providers, Your child’s medical history, and any legal documents such as power of attorney or health care directives.

  1. Draft a Will

You need to plan for how your special needs child is cared for should you die or become incapacitated. It is important you make sure your child is cared for in the best way possible.

This means naming a legal guardian for your child. Otherwise, it will be up to a judge to appoint someone.

  1. Create a Letter of Intent

This is not a legal document, but it provides you with the opportunity to give detailed instructions to the guardian about how to care for your special needs child.

After all, nobody knows better than you what your child likes and what they need.

  1. Develop a Special Needs Trust

special needs trust ensures your child will still qualify for government benefits such as Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid.

The trust puts the guardian in control of managing the fund and taking over duties such as filing taxes. If money is given directly to the child, it will reduce or eliminate government benefits.

The trust can also supplement the government aid to provide additional income for the care of your special needs child. However, establishing the trust is complicated and the rules for setting up the trust can vary from state to state.

  1. Review and Update Your Plan

Once you’ve made the plan, you still need to review it periodically and update the plan should circumstances change. Also, tax laws can change and require you to update your plan accordingly.

Updating your plan can include changing documents or rethinking how you approached the planning. This will often require the assistance of an attorney who specializes in estate planning and who understands special needs planning.

Make Your Estate Plan

Setting up your estate plan can be challenging. Special needs planning adds complexity to the process.

As much as this seems like a daunting process, working with a skilled and experienced lawyer can make a big difference.

They will know all the things you need to think about and what legal requirements exist in your state. That way you can be confident you’ve taken care of everything and your special needs child will be cared for in accordance with your wishes.

We’re here to help. As experienced estate planners, we can help you set up your estate plan.

Contact us today and we’ll get your estate planning started.

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