Children with special needs will need careful and advanced planning to ensure they are cared for in the event of a death or incapacitation of a parent during the child’s lifetime. You will want to consider talking to a Texas estate planning attorney about special needs estate planning options if you have a special needs or disabled child in the family.
The status of special needs can include someone with an intellectual deficit, mental or physical disability, or a debilitating mental health issue. If you have a child with special needs, you will feel more comfortable making an estate plan that typically includes the long-term needs that can be expected for the care of this child to adulthood and beyond. You will want to discuss your needs with an attorney who knows about these different types of disabling conditions and who understands what to do to help you going forward.
Special Needs Trusts
A special needs trust can be initiated and set up as a basis for managing options for the long-term care of a special needs child or close family member. It should be the case that you provide for the care of a special needs child to adulthood. This plan could help supplement any eligible government benefits the child can receive based on the type and severity of the disability. The government benefits are usually allocated utilizing a means test that will be keyed to your employment history or Medicaid eligibility status. Remember, as the child matures, it will be important to continue classes and life skills programs that promote the individual leading an independent life as much as possible.
Finding a Trusted Trustee for a Special Needs Trust
You will need to find a trusted adult to be the trustee of a special needs trust. It can be established through a will or other ways, but you might want to hire a professional trustee for this job. You can have co-trustees with two family members dedicated to seeing out the special care needs of the person who will be the trust beneficiary.
Allocate Estate Assets to Fund the Special Needs Trust
You will also need to consider how you want and allocate specific funds and estate assets to the special needs trust. Remember, the person who needs the funds for that trust may take up more assets from other siblings who would otherwise share in the distribution of an estate. There may need to be a family meeting to explain why this will occur to ensure that the siblings will not carry resentments into later years because of the unequal distribution of estate assets.
Preparing for a special needs trust can be a smooth process, but there needs to be advanced planning in place to make that transition a well-thought-out plan. If you have any questions, get in touch with a Texas estate planning lawyer to learn more about your rights.