Special Needs Planning

For Parents of Children with Special Needs, Preparing an Estate Plan Involves Certain Unique Considerations

As the parent of a child with special needs, many aspects of your life revolve around ensuring that your child has access to the care, resources and support he or she needs. Even if your child has reached adulthood, your role as a parent may continue to guide many of the decisions you make regarding your family’s financial priorities. When it comes to planning your estate, addressing your child’s needs will play an important role as well, and there are estate planning tools that are specifically designed for preserving families’ government benefit eligibility and addressing other issues that are unique to special needs planning.

Estate Planning Considerations for Parents of Children with Special Needs

For parents of children with special needs, estate planning involves a number of unique financial, healthcare and practical considerations. Attorney Jim Singler is experienced in helping parents address these considerations within the broader context of their overall estate plans, and he has worked with families throughout Ohio and Kentucky to develop estate plans that are custom-tailored to their minor and adult children’s special needs. While every family’s circumstances are unique, some of the issues that commonly need to be addressed with special needs planning include:

  • Preservation of Program Eligibility – Leaving your estate to your child can help ensure that he or she will have sufficient financial resources in the future; however, it can also disqualify him or her from means-tested government benefit program eligibility. The special needs trust (or supplemental needs trust) is an estate planning tool that is specifically intended to address this issue.
  • Guardianship – Appointing a guardian for your child during the estate planning process will ensure that someone you trust will be able to immediately step in should you die or become incapacitated. In Ohio and Kentucky, guardianship is an option for minors and adults with special needs, and appointing a guardian in your estate plan will avoid the need for one to be selected through probate.
  • Asset Management – If you appoint a guardian, he or she will be generally responsible for managing your child’s finances in your absence (unless you specify otherwise). If you do not appoint a guardian, or if you prefer for someone else to managing your child’s finances, you may choose to address this issue through the formation of a special needs trust or other trust instrument.
  • General Instruction – From daily routines to personal likes and dislikes, there are a variety of pieces of information that you may need to share so that your child will be able to continue to live comfortably in your absence. As part of the estate planning process, many parents will choose to prepare a letter of intent that passes this information on to their child’s guardian and other loved ones.

This list is not exhaustive; and, once again, every family’s needs are different. To discuss your family’s estate planning needs in confidence, please contact us to schedule an initial consultation.

Schedule an Initial Consultation at Singler Law

If you would like more information about special needs planning in Ohio or Kentucky, we encourage you to contact us for an initial estate planning consultation. To speak with attorney Jim Singler in confidence, please call 513-486-0000 or request an appointment online today.