Families with children that have special needs must exercise extra care when it come to setting up an estate plan. There are a number of unique planning considerations that must be taken. This is true regardless of whether their special needs child is still a minor or now an adult. However, this is especially true when a child with special needs is currently (or in the near future will be) receiving needs-based government benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid benefits (known in California as Medi-Cal).
Even though the planning considerations for a child with special needs will vary based on the child’s age, competency, and other family considerations, the goal is always the same. Parents want to be able to ensure the proper care of their child, while maintaining qualification and access to essential government benefits programs.
All of these goals can be met through the use of a properly prepared estate plan with the necessary provisions of what is known as a “Special Needs Trust”.
A Special Needs Trust is intended to ensure that the portion of the parent’s estate that passes to their special needs child at the time of their death is not considered an available asset, as defined by the agencies that govern needs-based benefits. Thus, there must be a great deal of consideration made to avoid providing too much income to a child with special needs, as that can negatively impact their child’s future eligibility for benefits.
All of these special considerations are exactly why it is important that those with children or other loved ones with special needs properly set up an estate plan and get the guidance of a qualified estate planning attorney to help you navigate through all of these important planning decisions.
If you or someone you know would like to learn more and book a FREE attorney consultation, we recommend attending one of our seminars, which are currently available as online, remote seminars. For more details and dates, click here. The Law Firm of Kavesh, Minor & Otis has over 39 years of experience and expertise in setting up Living Trust-centered estate plans and, more importantly, helping those after someone has become ill or passed away. We have been serving the Torrance (South Bay) and neighboring communities for almost 4 decades and are here to help you with all of your estate planning needs!