If you have a child or other family member that is disabled or has special needs, planning for their future care and financial support is critical. When a disabled child turns age 18, the assets of the disabled child’s parents are no longer relevant in determining that child’s eligibility for governmental benefits, such as Medicaid or Supplemental Social Security Income. A disabled individual is severely limited in the amount of assets that individual may have in their name before they can be eligible for governmental benefits; specifically, the limit is $2,000.
Appropriate planning for your disabled child or loved one with special needs will provide you and your family with the peace of mind knowing that your loved one will be cared and provided for in the event that you are no longer able to be their primary caregiver. The central and guiding principal in planning for the special needs beneficiary is about quality of life. Maintaining that principal in the planning will pave the way for preserving the beneficiary’s eligibility for governmental benefits. Some of the different issues that need to be considered and addressed when planning for the special needs beneficiary are: i) ensuring a plan for the future care and continuity of quality care for that beneficiary and executing a letter of agreement regarding that care; ii) deciding who will serve as Trustee of the beneficiary’s Supplemental Special Needs Trust to manage the beneficiary’s assets within the confines of the trust agreement provisions to ensure the continued eligibility to the governmental benefits; iii) deciding who will be the beneficiary’s guardian; iv) who you would like to choose as an advocate for such beneficiary; v) how you will address emotional factors, such as ensuring continued contact for the beneficiary with close family members and friends; vi) choosing the right type of supplemental special needs trust for the beneficiary: and vii) ensuring the planning for the special needs beneficiary works in conjunction with, and as a part of, your individual estate planning. Our firm would be most happy to assist you in thinking through these issues and implementing the appropriate plan.