It can be challenging for those with a special needs family member to think about what will happen when the primary caregivers can no longer care for or provide for their loved one. However, taking care of your special needs family member with your estate plan can ensure long-term well-being for them.
Consider a special needs trust
Consider setting up a special needs trust as part of your overall estate plan. This will allow the inheritance of your special needs family member to be held and managed in a trust with someone else as the trustee while allowing the special needs family member to become or maintain eligibility for essential public benefits. Without this protection, your special needs beneficiary could lose valuable government benefits.
Name a guardian for your minor children
If you have special needs children who are minors, make sure you create a will and name a guardian for your minor children. Without a last will and testament to designate a legal guardian for your minor children, a judge will determine who will raise your children, including your special needs child, should you pass away before your children reach the age of majority.
Create a letter of intent
Create a letter of intent for future caregivers of your special needs family member. In this letter of intent, you can state your desires regarding what kind of care your family member needs if you are not there to provide that care. With your letter, you can include your child’s care needs and medical history. Share this letter and these records with the people who will care for your special needs family member, and review and update this letter as necessary.
Get to planning
If you are the caregiver of a special needs family member, contemplating that you will not be able to take care of that family member forever can be frightening. However, with the right combination of estate legal planning and documenting a plan for future care, you will protect your special needs family member when you’re gone. Likewise, if you have a child with a disability, now is the right time to plan for their future.