What You Need to Know About Estate Planning for Adults with Special Needs

Disabled male in wheelchair working out with trainer

Estate planning can be challenging, but it is even more difficult if you have to plan for a dependant special needs adult. It is hard to predict what a special-needs child may need throughout their adulthood, but proper estate planning requires you to think about these aspects of your loved one’s future. For example, your estate plan may need to address unique issues that involve state or federal assistance, such as Social Security or Medicaid. Using the following tips to get your estate planning process started.

Consider a Special Needs Trust

A special needs trust will hold assets for your loved one that will pay for his or her care and expenses. Creating a trust for this purpose is important because it will keep these funds out of your loved one’s name, so he or she remains eligible for government benefits that are based on income. You can put funds in this trust right away, or you can use the trust as a beneficiary of your life insurance policy. Either option is acceptable, but some parents and guardians choose to fill the trust now to avoid potential issues with decreases in government benefits over time.

Deciding on Trustee

One of the first things you will need to do as part of your estate plan is to determine who would be a good trustee for your estate. This person needs to care deeply about your loved one to ensure that he or she gets all the benefits you have intended. Have a frank conversation with the individual that you are considering to make sure that they are up to the task.

Involving Everyone in the Plan

Family and friends may also want to be involved in a special needs adult’s care plan. For example, imagine that an uncle passes away and leaves $10,000 to your loved one with special needs. While this gift is certainly generous, it can decrease his or her ability to take advantage of state and federal assistance. Talk to your family and close friends about these issues to avoid these types of situations.

Be Sure to Address Your Own Needs

Some parents and guardians are so focused on providing for their special needs loved one that they forget that their estate plan should also involve them. That is, even those caring for a loved one with special needs must address some of the most common issues in estate planning, such as taxes and distributing property. Do not forget that your estate plan also needs to address both the complexities of caring for a special needs adult and the typical basics that are addressed in nearly all estate plans.

Meet with a Special Needs Attorney

You do not have to create your estate plan alone. Imagining every possible scenario for your loved one can be tough, and having someone who has experience with this process can be an invaluable asset. In fact, you can involve an entire team of experts, including a special-needs attorney, financial planner, and other local experts.

Do not wait to start this process. Call the Matus Law Firm today to set up an appointment. Every plan is unique, and our team has the experience and knowledge you need to develop an estate plan that works for you and your special needs loved one.