Planning for a Special Needs Child

When planning for a special needs child, sometimes traditional planning ideas which work well for a family that is not addressing these issues do not work well for a family which is. In a recent article in Kiplinger’s magazine titled “Making a Plan for a Special-Needs Child”, it is pointed out that a Will should be in place which designates a guardian. This guardian should be clear about the guardian’s responsibilities and the parents’ expectations.

The parents should write a list stating the names of the child’s doctors, what the parents want for the child in the long term and the child’s likes and dislikes even as specific as the type of music the child likes.

Life insurance on both parents should be considered even if one parent does not work outside of the home but is the child’s caregiver.

A Third Party Special Needs Trust can be put in place to hold money for the child without counting as an asset for qualifying for Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid. The money in the Special Needs Trust can be used for services not covered by government programs or for extra things to improve the child’s quality of life like vacations, home furnishings and almost anything else except for food and rent. The Special Needs Trust can be the beneficiary of the parents’ life insurance policies and retirement plans. Friends and relatives can make gifts to the Special Needs Trust for the child’s birthday and other holidays.

Consult your Estate Planning Attorney for further information.