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Estate Planning for Parents of Children with Special Needs

Special needs children can often require additional medical care, a different educational approach or simply a little more help navigating through life.  Another thing for parents of special needs children to keep in mind is that additional considerations are needed when it comes to estate planning, long-term care and trusts.

If you are starting to plan for how you will protect and care for your special needs child after you are gone, here are 4 things you will need to consider:

Financial Support

In order to receive sufficient, quality care over his or her lifetime, how much financial support will your special needs child require?  Determine how much financial support you are providing to your child now and consider how much that amount will change over time.  Take into account whether or not your child will be able to support him or herself and if he or she will be eligible to receive government benefits.  Consider also whether or not a disability or medical issue will worsen over time and how much financial support you will be able to provide as time goes on.

Government Benefits

Ensure you are protecting your special needs child’s government benefits.  If your child is receiving Medicare or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), it’s important that the money you leave behind to care for your child won’t affect his or her eligibility to receive the benefits that are needed.  Leaving your money in a special needs trust will allow your adult child with special needs to be the beneficiary without impacting his or her eligibility for government programs.

Your Other Children

As you prepare for the future, consider how you will treat your other children equally in your estate plan.  Ensure that the needs of your special needs child will be met but also that your other children are treated fairly.  Take time to review your estate plan with your family and explain how special financial considerations are required for your special needs child as well as how you are planning to distribute your other assets in a fair manner.

Choosing a Trustee

Planning for the care of your special needs child’s after you pass away is not as simple as leaving them a lump sum of money.  You will need to create a special needs trust and select someone who is willing and able to act as your child’s trustee.  Ensure that the person you select as trustee cares about your child and that they will not take advantage of their responsibilities.  Consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney will help you to choose the right person for the job.

A Pennsylvania estate planning attorney can help you plan for the future care of your special needs child and ensure that you are taking all the necessary steps to care for all of your children even after your death.

To discuss your specific needs and find out how our special needs trust attorneys in Pittsburgh can help you, please call us at Fingeret Law at 412.281.8222 or contact us online.


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