As a parent of a special needs child, you grapple with multiple worries. For instance, there is no guarantee that you will always be there to take care of your child. Your parental responsibilities are relinquished once your child reaches 18 years of age, requiring you to seek legal guardianship. These are enough reasons to start planning for your special needs child at the earliest possible.
Depending on their level of disability, they may not be in a position to manage their life independently once they are of legal adult age. Instead, they may require full-time care or part-time care. Whichever the way, you would like your child's future figured out before they get there. Read on to learn how best to do this.
Handy Tips for Special Needs Planning
To plan for your disabled child, consider the following tips to help you implement a long-term strategy.
Identify the Long-term Goals
For a comprehensive plan, you need to consider the kind of life you want for your child once they attain 18 years and beyond. Ask yourself crucial questions, like
- Will they be employable?
- Where are they going to live?
- Will they require twenty-four-hour care?
- What about their traveling needs?
Such questions enable you to develop an all-inclusive plan that ensures their future needs are well-catered to.
Outline Your Financial Resources
The financial aspect of facilitating a good life for your special needs child requires consideration too. Are you already financially prepared to assist your child in later years, or should you look into assistance programs? Parents can explore the options below when planning for their disabled children.
- Special needs trust
This legal disposition allows intellectually or physically disabled children to enjoy their parent's funds under a trusted trustee, all while still benefiting from federal-based programs. You may need the help of attorneys to navigate special needs trust effortlessly. A special needstrust assures you that your child's health and future needs will continue to be met upon your death. You, however, need to commit the power of attorney to a reliable person who will not exploit and mismanage the funds.
- Life insurance
Life insurance offers another alternative for special needs financial planning. This approach equally works well in providing an income source for your child's future upon your death. Life insurance accumulates more value when purchased earlier. Additionally, life insurances can accommodate all income levels, you just need to find the most affordable premium rates according to your financial capability.
- Government Benefits
Upon reaching 18 years, your child may be eligible for government benefits, namely Social Security Child Disability Benefit (CBD), Disabled Adult Child (DAC), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid, Social Security Disability Insurance, Medicare, and Supplement Nutrition Assistance or Food Stamps. Successful application for these benefits systems is not always guaranteed, but an attorney's assistance can help increase your qualification chances. You shouldn't rub off the idea of applying even when your child has minimal chances of getting absorbed.
Take the initiative of bringing your child's older and younger siblings up-to-date with your plans for their sister/brother. Communicate with them openly about how you wish your child to live and establish the roles they intend to play in helping you achieve your plans. Their participation should not only revolve around financial support, but also emotional and social.
After carefully drafting a plan for your special needs child, the final step is implementation. Remember to engage the invaluable help of a special needs attorney and a financial planner in the implementation stage.
Special Needs Planning Legal Assistance
In your quest for professional yet compassionate legal counsel, you can rely on Law Offices of James C. Shields. Contact us today for more details on how we can help you with special needs planning.