Estate Planning for Families with Special Needs Children: Ensuring a Secure Future




25 May 2023

Raising a child with special needs is both rewarding and challenging. As a parent, you strive to provide your child with the best care, support, and opportunities for a fulfilling life. When it comes to estate planning, families with special needs children face unique considerations to ensure their child’s well-being and financial security. Planning ahead can provide peace of mind and ensure that your child receives the care and resources they need throughout their lifetime. At ARCHA LAW P.C., located in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, California, we understand the importance of comprehensive estate planning for families with special needs children, and we are here to guide you through the process.

Here are key factors to consider when creating an estate plan for families with special needs children:

  1. Special Needs Trusts:

One of the most critical components of estate planning for families with special needs children is the establishment of a special needs trust (SNT). A special needs trust is designed to hold and manage assets for the benefit of a person with a disability, while preserving eligibility for government benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). By setting up a special needs trust, you can provide supplemental support for your child’s unique needs without jeopardizing their eligibility for essential public benefits.

  1. Naming a Trustee:

Selecting a trustworthy and capable trustee is crucial for the effective administration of a special needs trust. The trustee will manage the assets in the trust, make distributions for the benefit of your child, and ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations. Consider appointing a family member, a close friend, or a professional trustee who has experience with special needs trusts to ensure proper management and advocacy for your child’s best interests.

  1. Guardianship:

Planning for guardianship is another crucial aspect of estate planning for families with special needs children. Guardianship allows you to designate a person or persons who will assume responsibility for your child’s care, decisions, and well-being if you become incapacitated or pass away. Selecting a guardian who understands your child’s unique needs and is committed to providing the necessary support and care is essential. It is also important to communicate your wishes and expectations with the potential guardian to ensure they are prepared for the role.

  1. Communication and Coordination:

Open and ongoing communication among family members, caregivers, and professionals involved in your child’s life is vital. Discuss your estate planning goals, expectations, and instructions with all relevant parties to ensure a coordinated effort in caring for your child. Share information about the existence and purpose of the special needs trust, the designated trustee, and the intended use of the trust funds to avoid any misunderstandings or conflicts in the future.

  1. Government Benefits and Public Programs:

Understanding the impact of your estate plan on your child’s eligibility for government benefits is crucial. Public benefits such as Medicaid and SSI often have strict asset and income limits, and any inheritance or direct financial support can jeopardize your child’s eligibility. By using a special needs trust, you can provide for your child’s supplemental needs while preserving their access to vital public benefits.

  1. Regular Plan Review:

Estate plans should be reviewed and updated regularly, particularly when there are significant changes in your child’s circumstances, the law, or your financial situation. Regular plan reviews ensure that your estate plan remains current and reflects your child’s evolving needs. As your child grows older, transitions to adulthood, or experiences changes in health, education, or financial circumstances, adjustments may be necessary to accommodate their changing needs.

At ARCHA LAW P.C., we are committed to helping families with special needs children navigate the complexities of estate planning. Our experienced attorneys understand the unique challenges faced by these families and can provide compassionate and knowledgeable guidance throughout the process. We will work closely with you to

tailor an estate plan that safeguards your child’s future, protects their eligibility for public benefits, and ensures their long-term financial security.

Located in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, California, ARCHA LAW P.C. is dedicated to serving our local community and providing specialized expertise in estate planning for families with special needs children. We are passionate about helping families like yours secure a bright and secure future for their loved ones. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards creating an estate plan that provides peace of mind and support for your special needs child.