Estate planning for a family with special needs children comes with a complex set of financial, social, and medical issues that some lawyers are ill-equipped to handle.
Kevin C Martin, Attorney at Law, is dedicated to ensuring your child with special needs will be well taken care of when you're no longer able to serve as the primary caregiver.
I offer a variety of estate planning tools and strategies designed to accommodate the unique circumstances presented by children with special needs and their families.
I can help you pass on the financial assets needed for your child to live a rich quality of life without jeopardizing their eligibility for government benefits. I'll also assist you in finding and appointing a trusted guardian and/or trustee to look after them in the event of your death or incapacity. And I'll help with locating the best residential opportunities and identifying the best means to pay for them.
One “Catch-22-like” situation surrounding estate planning for those with special needs is how to leave enough money to pay for the massive amount of care and support these individuals typically need throughout their lifetimes, while not disqualifying them from government benefits like Medicaid and Supplemental Social Security Income.
If you leave a large lump sum of money directly to a special needs child, there are immediate concerns about how that might impact governmental assistance and whether your child is capable of managing finances on their own.
Fortunately, we have an estate planning tool called a “special needs trust” that is designed to provide supplemental financial resources for the physically, mentally, or developmentally disabled child without affecting their eligibility for public healthcare and income assistance benefits.
That said, the rules for such trusts are quite complicated.
For instance, funds from a special needs trust cannot be distributed directly to the disabled beneficiary and must be disbursed to a third party who's responsible for providing the goods and services they need to maintain a comfortable lifestyle.
Even once you have established a special needs trust, the care and attention we pay to your special needs child are not over. We know that your child's financial and emotional requirements will change over time, sometimes dramatically. And the laws governing public benefits change over time as well.
Given this, it's vital to work with a special needs attorney who can create a comprehensive special needs trust that is both properly structured and appropriate for your child's specific situation.
If you need estate planning for your child with Down syndrome, autism, cerebral palsy, or another developmental or intellectual disability, I'm here to help you.
I will help you develop a sustainable living plan for your child with special needs that will provide them with the finances they need to live a full life while preserving their access to government benefits.