Estate Planning for Children with Special Needs - Boyum Law
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Estate Planning for Children with Special Needs

Estate Planning for Children with Special Needs

If you have a child with special needs that depends on you financially and physically for care, creating an estate plan is important. With an estate plan in place, you can ensure your child is always provided for financially and physically, even if you’re no longer around. Read on to discover the estate planning steps you should take if you have a child with special needs.

1. Name a guardian

Naming a guardian is an important estate planning step to take if you have a child with special needs because it ensures your child is left in the care of a trusted individual if something happens to you. There are many factors to consider when choosing a guardian, which you can read about here. A guardian is named in a last will and testament. However, since your last will and testament is not typically looked at right away, a guardian should be named in other documents as well. A power of attorney document is a great place to list your choice of guardian since it’s one of the first documents that will be examined in the event you become incapacitated or die. A trust, if you have one, is also a good place to list your choice of guardian.

2. Write a letter of intent

Though a letter of intent, otherwise known as a letter of instruction, is technically not an estate planning document, it is an important document to create if you have a child with special needs. Writing a letter of intent enables you to share information about your child with their chosen guardian in order to help the guardian get to know your child. A letter of intent should include information about your child’s like and dislikes, capabilities and in-capabilities, daily routine, and medical history. Contact information for doctors, schools, and family members should also be left. You can also include a section dedicated to your final thoughts and wishes.

3. Create a special needs trust

A special needs trust is a unique estate planning tool. Unlike other methods of inheritance, a special needs trust enables you to leave your child financial resources without interfering with his or her ability to receive government aide. A variety of factors should be considered when creating a special needs trust, including:

  • What kind of life would you like for your child?
  • Does your child need financial resources to access educational or vocational training opportunities?
  • What type of medical care will your child need?
  • Is there an individual you trust enough to name as the trustee responsible for handling the trust?
  • Would you prefer to have someone who is not a family member or friend named as the trustee?

By creating these estate planning documents, you can ensure your child is left in the care of a trusted guardian in the event something happens to you. You can also ensure your child has access to the financial resources he or she will need throughout his or her life. To contact Boyum Law Firm to create these documents, click here.