Getting Started With Estate Planning

Three fourths of school aged children with disabilities have cognitive disabilities. Over half of all disabled school aged children cannot perform one or more basic self-care tasks, and 350,000 have mobility limitations. To provide for the care of a disabled child after parents or other family members pass, it is of critical importance to have an estate plan in place.

Estate planning can be complicated, which is why the lawyers at Stern Law, PLLC are available to answer questions and provide guidance. Please call (800) 462-5772 for free today.

Creating an estate plan for your disabled child

The first step to developing a comprehensive estate plan for your disabled child involves taking an inventory of both your child’s needs and your finances. Starting with your child’s needs, look to the following:

  • What is the nature and extent of your child’s disability;
  • Does he or she meet the definition of disabled as used by the Social Security Administration and Medicaid? Both can be found on federal and state websites;
  • What are your child’s abilities and inabilities;
  • How long will your child be in need of care;
  • What level of care does your child require;
  • Will he or she likely be able to live alone as an adult;
  • Will he or she likely be able to hold employment;
  • Is a group home a more appropriate setting for your child;
  • What are the educational needs of your child;
  • What is your child’s legal status (i.e. have you sought guardianship or curatorship?);
  • What kinds of assistance will your child require in managing personal and financial affairs.

Turning to financial concerns, you should inventory all of your own personal assets which could be inherited by your child absent special estate planning. The concern, again, is ensuring these assets are instead maintained in trust. The following is a list of some assets to consider:

  • IRA, 401(k), and other retirement benefits;
  • Life insurance;
  • Annuities;
  • Savings bonds;
  • Deeds;
  • Joint accounts;
  • Jointly owned property;
  • Family heirlooms;
  • Personal injury or wrongful death proceeds;
  • Inheritances or gifts from another person’s will or trust.

It is important not to overlook your child’s assets, which may include monies from personal injury proceedings, other inheritances, and work income.

With these inventories complete, the next step is to schedule a consultation with an estate planning attorney with experience in special needs estate planning. An attorney will review your assessment of your child’s needs, your finances, and all other relevant considerations. Your attorney will then help you to create an estate plan that will protect the child’s physical, emotional, and financial well-being after your death.

Ken Stern, founder of Stern Law, PLLC, has represented the families of children with special needs for over 30 years. Stern Law, PLLC advocates for disabled children on all fronts, including proper estate planning. Ken Stern recognizes the critical importance of proper estate planning when it comes to the long term care of your child. Call Stern Law, PLLC at (800) 462-5772 for any questions on estate planning for your special needs child.

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