Moving Out of State With a Child Custody Agreement

Planning Your Estate When You Have A Special Needs Child

by Layla Bryant

If you have a child with special needs, it's important to prepare for their future as an adult. When you want to ensure that your special needs child is taken care of when you are no longer around, you can make estate plans to provide for your child when you are gone. Most parents of children with a disability set up a special needs trust, which is funded upon your death and the money is used to provide supplemental support to take care of your child. 

Why Your Child Can't Inherit Money Directly From You

When an adult receiving disability benefits inherits money, this can cause a disruption in their benefits. This can be problematic in a number of ways. If your heir attends a day program, or has a number of treatment providers, these services can be disrupted if they suddenly inherit money and no longer have the same health insurance. You can still provide for your child's future, but it has to be in a more indirect way. Your disabled heir can't have large sums of money in their name, for any reason.

The Special Needs Trust for Disabled Adults

A special needs trust is a special kind of trust that protects financial assets and keeps money out of the name of your disabled loved one. The trust can be used for anything, from vacations, to clothing, to anything else your disabled heir wants or needs. The trust holds the money the heir inherits, not the heir, so this money doesn't count when it comes to receiving benefits for being disabled. The trust should specifically state that it is to be used as a supplement to providing care for your heir.

There are other factors to consider when you have a disabled child that you are caring for. If your disabled child is now an adult, you can prepare for their future by finding another person who would act as their guardian when you are no longer able to. The next guardian is generally a sibling, cousin, or other relative, but if your heir has a close relationship with a friend, this can work too. If you can't identify a subsequent guardian for your disabled adult, the court system will appoint one when you aren't able to serve as a guardian anymore.

The more you can prepare for the future of a disabled adult you are caring for, the easier transition they will have when you are no longer here to take care of them. For more information, contact a lawyer, like those at the Skeen Law Offices.