Estate planning for children with special needs

Estate planning is crucial for every American adult. That’s particularly true when children are involved. Every parent in Florida should at least have a will. This makes it possible for them to distribute their assets as they see fit. A will is also an opportunity to name a guardian for any minor children they may have. For some families, estate planning is a little more complicated. One example of this is the parents of disabled children.

Choosing the right estate planning tools

When a family has a child with special needs, it creates additional estate planning considerations. For example, setting up a special needs trust is prudent. This means that assets will be held by a third party and managed for the benefit of the child. A special needs trust can be structured so that it provides for a child without affecting their eligibility for government benefits. This kind of trust can greatly improve a special needs child’s quality of life.

Other estate planning tools to consider include a letter of intent. This allows parents to spell out their child’s routine, medical providers and other pertinent information. It’s important to update this kind of document regularly. Doing it once a year, perhaps at tax time, is a good way to make sure this information stays up to date.

Finally, it’s important to plan for while you’re living, too. When a child with special needs is approaching 18, it’s time to start thinking about guardianship or power of attorney. This status can allow parents to make decisions and continue to care for an adult child who is not competent to manage their own affairs.

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