Financial planning can seem impossible for your family in front of looming bills and expenses, especially with a special needs child. They have higher living costs than regular kids and require more time to take care of, leaving you less room to earn an income.
Money is already tight for you in the present moment, but how can you plan for their financial support as adults? It can be frightening to think that your child will not have help after you pass away.
Our team understands the challenge you face nurturing the bundle of joy you want to succeed and gain independence. You and your partner can choose from different planning options to create a strong monetary foundation.
These legal tips can protect your special needs child for years to come and give you peace of mind. You can rest knowing they will have money to last them down the road and a trusted person to assist them in managing it. Special needs financial planning is possible when you understand your options with the government and court.
How to Financially Plan for Your Special Needs Child?
The seemingly impossible question remains: how can you protect your child’s financial future by planning now? Our firm understands every child is unique, and your kid’s situation may be completely different from another with a similar disability.
But we believe you can set up your child for financial freedom that endures into adulthood by balancing the immediate for the future. You can seek eligible government benefits to cover the expensive costs of caring for your child and seek legal assistance to guarantee they receive support before you die.
The first step you should take in preparing to secure your child’s financial future is to minimize as many costs now as possible.
Your kid can take advantage of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) that the Federal Government offers. It will provide a stream of income they can use for basic necessities, such as food, housing, and clothing. They are also still eligible for this government benefit even if they are working.
Also, the Medi-Cal & Medicare programs are available for your special education kid, both as a minor and as an adult child. These insurance assistance plans will help pay for routine doctor’s visits, caregivers, and other medical expenses.
The government covers more on premiums and deductibles than private insurance, so it is useful if your child requires regular checkups and appointments.
Securing a Future Legacy
What you may not know about these government benefits is that your child is not eligible for them if they own more than $2000 in assets.
This means that if you create a savings account in their name to accumulate funds or list them as a beneficiary in your trust, they will lose government support. Costs of living will skyrocket, and you and them will not have any spare money to save for after you pass.
Our legal team has walked through this dilemma with dozens of families with special needs children. Since federal and state laws affect your child’s financial planning, you must pursue legal action to leave them money behind.
Special Needs Trust
Unlike normal trusts that limit your child from benefiting from government benefits, special needs trusts take into account your child’s disability and situation. This estate planning account secures assets, property, and cash for your kid. They can still reap financial support in the present when they need it.
Your child can spend funds from the special needs trust on various daily and medical expenses once they have access. Out-of-pocket doctor and dental visits, home furnishing, vacations, and personal care attendants are a few of the many things they can pay for.
When you submit a trust document, you can define the purposes of the trust, such as how the trustee should spend it, and any future trustee must sign in agreement. A similar document you can write and send to the court is a letter intent that goes into more detail about your financial wishes for the child and how to care for them monetarily.
We recommend alerting other family members, so everyone understands how to leave their legacies for your special needs child. And your child will still be eligible to receive help now without losing it to a generous donation. You do not need a lawyer’s help to open a special needs trust, but they can be helpful to ensure everything is set up right for your child.
Long-Term Care Options
You need to also keep in mind that your child with special needs may not be independent at your passing. Although a trustee can manage and spend your child’s funds, they cannot legally make decisions about their daily routine, social circles, or medical treatments. Hiring a financial advisor to assist them will only go so far.
Any financial planning for your special needs child needs to establish any necessary persons to help them make good choices in general. Financial planners would not be able to violate their rights in this way and even a trustee could only have control over money in their special needs trust.
Conservatorships and power of attorneys can help in these areas and are excellent financial planning companions you can pursue with a state or county court.
Power of Attorney
It’s likely that you have created power of attorney documents and signed with a notary public. These contracts are your child releasing decision-making powers to responsible adults in their lives, whether that be a grandparent, sibling, or another trusted person. They have the authority to help them each day of their lives when you’re not around.
You will not have to go into a courthouse with a power of attorney document and will not have to hire a lawyer during this process, which can save your family a lot of money.
The downside is that your child may already be incapacitated and cannot take care of themselves. A judge will force them into a conservatorship for their own protection in this case unless you signed a durable power of attorney instead.
Limited conservatorships are the final legal action you can petition to protect your child’s future in addition to a special needs trust and responsible trustee. The judge can rule a family member, friend, or government worker to provide daily living support as a conservator of their person.
This process is the most involved and takes away your child’s rights, but always does it for their ultimate benefit. Conservators will push your child toward independence if they are capable and will help them with anything they cannot do on their own.
It is optimal to establish a conservatorship for your special needs child before they turn 18 because you cannot make any decisions for them once they become a legal adult. They have the potential to make unwise decisions and could be prone to manipulation, depending on their developmental disability.
Conservatorships guarantee there is a trustworthy person by their side who cares for their individual quirks and personalities just as much as you would.
Lawyers Who Care About Your Child
You can do a considerable amount of help for your special needs child by applying for government benefits and taking care of their immediate needs. The only problem is that the government does not consider your desire to leave a legacy for your child and care for them even after you die.
We believe legal solutions are the best way to solve this dilemma and give you and your family peace of mind. Our team would be thrilled to meet you and answer any questions you have about financial planning for your child.
You can contact our office by calling (800).840.1998 or chat with us online.