Caring for any child is challenging at times. But caring for a disabled child adds additional challenges and complexities.
We are happy to announce that Sabrina Winters, Attorney at Law, PLLC has obtained an official Proclamation signed by the Mayor of the Town of Waxhaw, North Carolina declaring April 2nd World Autism Awareness day!! (If you would like a copy of the signed Proclamation please contact us at 704-843-1446 and we will be happy to share it with you!)
Naming a Guardian
For a full discussion on naming a guardian for your minor children, read more here. Although we want the best for all our children, when choosing legal guardians for a disabled child, you may need to look beyond the obvious choices.
- Consider the candidates whose values and outlook on life are similar to your own
- This person needs to be committed to the supervision and support of your child –
potentially well beyond adulthood
- Will the guardian understand the needs of your child and be able to obtain or continue to keep your child qualified for the resources available?
Special Needs Trust (SNT)
A “special needs trust” also referred to as a “supplemental needs trust” is a legal tool used by families to ensure their child has enough financial resources to meet their future needs without jeopardizing their eligibility for state or government aid.
If your child already receives benefits from Social Security or Medicaid, you know they are very limited and cannot possibly cover all the expenses necessary to enjoy the quality of life you desire for your son or daughter.
For that reason, many well-meaning parents will choose to leave their disabled child a large portion of their estate in a Will, without realizing their child could lose their benefits as a result (which in the case of Medicaid, may be the only health care option available to your child!).
Instead, parents of special needs children should consider setting up a special needs trust which will “hold” such assets for your child without actually putting them in his or her name. The assets in the trust will then be administered by a trustee of your choosing and according to the rules you set forth in your estate plan. By doing this, your child can continue receiving well needed government resources but can still inherit from you as your child. The trust money would then be used to enhance your child’s life.
This is the safest way to ensure your child continues to receive what he or she needs to enjoy a full, abundant life at your death.
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