Adults who have children often place a high priority on providing for their children when they decide upon their estate planning goals. Each child is unique, and, especially if your children are young, it can be difficult to predict what their needs will be in the future. If one of your children has special needs, it can be even harder to predict what their adult life will look like as they grow and develop over the years. Fortunately, you do not need to know precisely what the future holds for your child to make an estate plan that will provide for them.
The information that you have in your hands about each of your children right now is information you can use to build an estate plan. If you have a special needs child, you will want to talk with your estate planning attorney about what their needs are right now as well as what your health care providers and others who work with your child predict that their needs will be in the future. As your children grow and change, you may consider changing your estate plan in light of the new information you receive. However, making changes to an estate plan is a much smaller task than the initial process of creating a comprehensive estate plan.
Parents with a child who has special needs will also want to talk with their estate planning attorney to explore their options for creating an estate plan that does not put their child’s eligibility for certain government benefits like SSI and Medicaid. For example, in some situations, inheriting assets directly from a parent may disqualify an individual from receiving government benefits, but the individual may be able to access the same resources through a trust or some other estate planning mechanism without losing their benefits. Estate planning attorneys have the tools and the knowledge to help parents create estate plans that ensure that special needs children will have access to the resources and care that they need. Some families prefer not to anticipate government benefits as part of their special needs child’s financial future, and there are estate planning tools that can help you accomplish that estate planning goal as well.
In addition to providing for the unique needs of your special needs child, your estate planning attorney will guide you to the estate planning tools that will help you accomplish the other objectives that are important for you in planning your estate. Your estate planning attorney can help you create your wills, powers of attorney, and possibly even a special needs trust. If you and your attorney decide to create a special needs trust because it is a good fit for your estate planning goals and your family’s needs, they may also be able to help you select a trustee who is knowledgeable about administering special needs trusts.
Estate planning is vital for all Kansas families, including and especially those families with special needs children. If you have estate planning questions, please schedule an initial consultation with the law office of J. Joseph Weber, P.A. today, at (316) 265-7802, or you may contact us through our website.