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Three More Strategies for Using Estate Planning to Provide for Your Child’s Special Needs

Weber Law Oct. 15, 2019

Your estate planning attorney can do much more than help you draft a letter of intent and decide which form of long term care your child needs. Today, we will explore three more things your attorney can do with you that will help your child thrive during your lifetime, and after you pass away.

The will is the universal estate planning document, and for a good reason. People can accomplish many things with a well-drafted will, and your estate planning attorney can help you make a will that addresses your child’s unique needs while also benefiting other children, family members, and organizations according to your wishes. For example, if your child is a minor or if you have determined that full guardianship is the least restrictive way to meet their needs as an adult, you can name a guardian in your will. You can also specify what resources you want to leave to your child, if they can manage them on their own, to a guardian, or others such as your spouse, other children, family members, and friends. If there are organizations that are dear to your heart, you can make gifts to them in your will too.

For parents of special needs children, a special needs trust can be an excellent estate planning tool. With a special needs trust, you can safeguard your child’s interest in receiving public benefits like Medicaid and social security. The amount of funds that your child can hold in a private bank account before being deemed unable to obtain those essential benefits is extremely low. It is crucial that you take steps to ensure that their bank account does not exceed the two thousand dollar cutoff amount. Fortunately, money, property, and other resources placed in a special needs trust do not count towards that amount. Even better, trusts allow you to decide who will manage the assets you put in them and how your trustee is to manage them.

A third thing you may want to do as part of estate planning for your special needs child is set to g up an Able account. This type of account can also help safeguard your child’s public benefits as it keeps money separate from their regular accounts that are subject to the two thousand dollar limit. Many individuals with disabilities use Able accounts to save for long term goals, invest, and plan for their future without jeopardizing their Medicaid and social security. Kansas is one of the states where Able accounts are available, so it is a good idea to check whether your child is eligible to open one.

Your estate planning attorney can help you create an estate plan that addresses your child’s unique needs. Wichita estate planning attorney J. Joseph Weber is here to serve you. Call us to reserve an appointment today, or contact us online.