Planning for Special Needs Children

Special Needs KidsIt’s no surprise that having a special needs child is both challenging and rewarding.  Not only are there school and medical issues to consider, there are also the financial needs of your child.  Planning for your child’s financial well-being should be an important part of your estate plan especially since improved healthcare has allowed children with conditions such as cerebral palsy and Down’s Syndrome, to live longer.

What do you need to do to provide for your special needs child?  These things can help during the special needs child planning process.

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What should you know about ABLE savings accounts for your loved ones with special needs?

special needs trust in PAThere is new legislation that allows for a family that has a loved one with special needs to set up an ABLE Savings Account.  The Stephen J. Beck, Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE Act) was signed into law in December 2014.  This law allows states to create their own ABLE programs.  Previously, Special Needs Trusts were the only way a family could save money for a special needs individual without losing eligibility for SSI and Medicaid benefits.  But now with the availability of ABLE Savings accounts, families have another option to save for their disabled loved one’s future.

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Common Questions About Supplemental Needs Trusts

Supplemental needs trusts in PA serve a specific and important purpose: to provide for someone with a physical or mental disability after the death of a parent or another loved one.

Here are some common questions we hear about these trusts:

1. Who can create supplemental needs trusts in PA?

These trusts – which are also referred to as special needs trusts –are typically set up by a parent, grandparent or legal guardian, although siblings or other relatives can establish a trust as well. In some cases, a judge can create an SNT for a person with a disability.

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What to Do When Drafting a Special Needs Trust

special needs trust in PANo one likes to think about the end of their life, but planning for the end is important.

It’s doubly important when you know you’ll be leaving behind children, whether that means juveniles or adult children or other family members with special needs.

Making arrangements for the care of minor children is its own topic. Today we’re going to focus on children with special needs, and the concept of the special needs trust, also known as a supplemental needs trust.

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What You Need to Know About Special Needs Planning

A special needs trust is essential for protecting a loved ones quality of life and access to government benefits.

A special needs trust is essential for protecting a loved one’s quality of life and access to government benefits.

Estate planning is nothing new.  People know about the importance of having an up to date will, living will and power of attorney and most have these documents at the ready.  What if you have a child with a severe physical or mental disability and he or she will not be able to support him or herself?  How can you plan for your child’s care when you are no longer around?  That’s where special needs planning comes in.

Before consulting with an expert (this is not a do-it-yourself project) you need to organize your and your child’s financial and medical information.  Like many people, you probably have social security numbers, phone numbers, etc. in various places.  That is why it is important to have this information in an easy to access place.  Click here to see what information needs to be gathered and documented.

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Retirement Planning: Understanding Social Security Benefits

Social secruityNavigating the issue of Social Security benefits (SSB) can be a difficult process for individuals nearing the age of retirement.

Generally it is advised to wait as long as possible before taking SSB, however it is sometimes necessary for an individual to begin collecting these payments early. If the individual is able to continue working while collecting social security benefits it may be possible to increase the overall profit.

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Understanding Government Benefits for Special Needs Planning

 

For the parent or guardian of someone with special needs, government benefits can be confusing. Between the acronyms, eligibility requirements and applications, caregivers often have misconceptions about their loved one’s eligibility or how to apply for benefits.

A large portion of special needs planning involves helping people with special needs receive the benefits to which they are entitled. Public benefits offer a wide range of assistance for living expenses and care options. These benefits work as a foundation for the care and support for individuals with special needs.

Below are a few public programs that provide care and support for families caring for a loved one with special needs.

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Planning for the Future of Your Adult Special Needs Child

 

Special Needs KidsMany parents of children with special needs ask themselves: Who will care for my child once I am no longer able to? Where will he or she live? Where will financial support come from? Who will advocate for my child? What will happen when he or she reaches adulthood?

These are common questions, which all should be asked in preparation for when parents can no longer care for their child due to advancing age or death. By planning for your child’s future now, you can establish parameters for the level of care needed in the future and prepare your family for their roles and responsibilities in your child’s future.

Begin Planning Early
A small amount of planning now in preparation for a child’s care as an adult can help parents avoid a crisis in the future. To begin special needs planning, parents should consider meeting with an elder law attorney to having the following documents drawn up: a durable financial power of attorney, a medical power of attorney, a letter of intent, physician’s directive or living will and, if appropriate, a declaration of guardianship. These documents will facilitate the care of your adult special needs child, and will help ensure that he or she will be eligible for public benefits.

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Special Needs Planning: Important Documents to Keep on Hand

For families with loved ones who have special needs planning and preparing for the future takes time and thoughtful consideration. Care options, estate planning and how the special needs person will be cared for when you are gone are common concerns.

Through advances in day-to-day care and modern medicine, people with special needs are living longer, healthier lives, which makes proper estate planning more important for you than ever.

When you have a child or loved one with special needs, many legal documents are needed. Once you have started planning for your loved one’s future, keep these ten documents on hand with your estate planning records:

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Guardianship of Special Needs Adults

down syndrome coupleWhen a special needs child becomes a legal adult, the power of choice is transferred from parents or guardians to the special needs adult. In order for important decisions about medical treatments, personal finance and everyday life to be made correctly, parents or loved ones should consider filing for guardianship.

Types of Guardianship

There are two main types of guardianship. Becoming the legal guardian of a person allows you to make important decisions about healthcare, housing, food, clothing and other care needs. You can also be the guardian of property, which gives you the power to make decisions about your loved one’s finances, income, property and public benefits. In many cases, you can receive both types of guardianship depending on how much assistance your loved one needs.

When is a guardian necessary?

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