Almost 20 million American families include a special needs child, and planning for that child’s needs throughout his or her life can be daunting. Most parents approach estate planning for a special needs child with a desire to leave as much money as possible for their care, but doing it in a way that doesn’t disqualify them from governmental benefits is important.
Here are some recommendations on establishing a plan for special needs children:
Letter of Intent – while not legally binding, a letter of intent that spells out all the information you would want a court or trustee to have about your special needs child can be of great benefit. Include medical history, your choice of a guardian and your preference for your child’s care and living arrangements after you’re gone.
Special Care Planner – special needs planning is a complex process, and there are professionals that can help you navigate this process, working in conjunction with your estate planning attorney and financial planner.
Supplement Special Needs (SSN) Trust – this trust allows parents or grandparents to earmark funds for the care of a special needs child without disqualifying him or her from government benefits.
Will Provisions – you want to be sure your will is written in a way that leaves assets for your special needs child to the SSN Trust you have created, and not to the child directly.
Legal Guardianship – once your special needs child becomes an adult, you will need to file for legal guardianship.
The Dorcey Law Firm, PLC is a Florida Estate Planning, Asset Protection and Business Planning law firm with offices in Fort Myers, Florida and Naples, Florida. Our firm is dedicated to its clients, the rule of law and the betterment of the Southwest Florida community.
It is our goal to provide our clients with the highest level of legal services in the areas of Last Will and Testaments, Probate and Estate Administration, Living Trust, Irrevocable Trusts, Estate Planning, Asset Protection, and complete Business Planning. If you or someone you know needs information on Florida estate planning, please contact us today to schedule your free consultation.