When a child has special needs, there is extra attention that goes into how they are cared for throughout their lives. As a family member of a child with special needs, their care is a main priority and that care will likely need to continue after you have passed away. Estate planning is an important process that is necessary to ensure your wishes are respected in regards to your assets after you have passed. As a parent of a child with special needs, the estate planning process must be approached with extra care to ensure the benefits you leave them will positively benefit them in the future.
At Stepp & Sullivan, our estate planning lawyers have more than 70 years of combined experience assisting clients making estate plans with their special needs child in mind. The essence of special needs estate planning is to ensure that the portion of your estate which passes to your child is not considered an available asset. To ensure that you plan your estate with specific goals in mind for your child, consult with one of our estate planning lawyers as soon as possible.
Why Is Estate Planning Important for Families of Children With Special Needs?
As a parent of a child with special needs, you do your best to protect them and provide them with everything they need. When planning your estate with a special needs minor or dependent adult, it is important that you have the goal of preserving public benefits for the disabled child while supplementing and enhancing the quality of their life. This type of estate planning is useful for many different purposes concerning your child, including the following:
- Lifetime money management for the benefit of the child
- Protecting the child’s eligibility for public benefits like SSI or Medicaid
- Ensuring a pool of funds is available for future use in the event public funding should cease or be restricted
To get help understanding the full scope of benefits regarding special needs estate planning, contact a Texas estate planning lawyer who has knowledge of the process.
What Are the Estate Planning Options for Families of Special Needs Children?
When estate planning, it is important you weigh all of your options to determine what will be most beneficial to your child in the event that you pass away or are no longer able to care for them. The options available to families of children with special needs as they plan their estate are as follows:
Leave an Inheritance to the Special Needs Child
If you choose to leave a substantial inheritance to your child, they may risk having their eligibility for publicly funded benefits stopped or reduced. This is risky as it is important for children with special needs to have the support of public funded benefits like Medicaid or housing.
Leave an Inheritance in a Special Needs Trust
By utilizing a Special Needs Trust, the child will continue to qualify for public assistance programs. Special Needs Trusts hold the assets in the trust but are not readily available to the child. Because the child may be unable to manage their own finances, you will appoint a trustee to act as the child’s money manager during this phase of estate planning.
To better understand what option may best suit you and your child’s needs, contact an estate planning lawyer with experience handling cases involving children with special needs.
Contact a Special Needs Estate Planning Lawyer in Texas Today
The skilled attorneys at Stepp & Sullivan are dedicated to helping clients understand the importance of estate planning when considering a child with special needs. We have several decades of experience helping residents of Texas navigate the estate planning process. To discuss your next steps with a dedicated and trusted special needs estate planning attorney, call us today at (713) 336-7200 or complete our contact form.