Question 1: What is special needs planning?
Special-needs planning refers to the steps a parent with a child with disabilities should take in preparation for the child reaching adulthood or the parent dying and leaving the child without an appropriate guardian. Special-needs planning issues are not exclusive to children with disabilities, and also apply to, for example, adults who suffer debilitating injuries or who are no longer able to care for themselves after a medical condition or traumatic event.
Question 2: How do I begin special needs planning?
No two special needs situations are identical, and you will need to develop a comprehensive plan that meets your individual circumstances. The best way to do this is to schedule an appointment with your estate planning lawyer and discuss your individual situation. Some people, for example, begin special needs planning very early while others are suddenly thrust into a situation where they need to develop a plan quickly. In either case you will need to develop a plan with the assistance of your attorney and other professionals.
Question 3: What is in a special needs plan?
Special needs plans involve several key elements. Commonly, for example, people creating a special needs plan will create a last will and testament in which they name their choice of guardian who would take over parenting responsibilities of their child with disabilities. These plans also involve financial planning, such as the creation of a special needs trust that allows parents to provide for the financial needs of the child while still being able to apply for state or federal benefits.