Special needs and guardianships

Either as children or adults, your kids might need someone assigned to provide special care to them. Guardianships are an option in Florida when a beneficiary of your estate is under the age of 18. Sometimes, assets aren’t even useful until children become adults. If you pass before seeing your children grow up, you can offer them special care even though you’re gone. Thinking of the special needs of children now is how you account for their futures.

What is a guardianship?

A guardianship is an arrangement where adults act as parents for children. The parent of a child can become incapable of providing care due to incarceration, death or a disability. The guardian then has specific responsibilities and consents to parenting the child they’re assigned to.

When that child has special needs, finding a prepared guardian can be difficult. Guardians will have to decide:

  • The medical care a child receives daily or during an emergency
  • Where a child attends school and how they get there
  • How children get disciplined as appropriate regarding behavior or mental status
  • The points of public contact during an emergency or absence of the guardian

Special needs trusts

Trusts are flexible assets that give your financial estate protection from outside interests. When your trust is created under a special needs clause, your trust expands to specifically care for someone with disabilities. The conflict that special needs children have when they inherit money is their eligibility for public assistance. A trust avoids those eligibility issues.

Guardianships in Florida

Some children require a level of care that you wouldn’t be able to provide if something happened to you. You might never predict exactly when assistance is necessary. Planning now gives you the option of deciding upon care for your child if you are no longer around. Timing is everything in these cases, so getting a start on your estate plan is critical.

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