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Special Needs Planning

Our Torrance Lawyers Help You Arrange for the Best Possible Quality of Life

People who care for a child or relative with special needs often worry about what will happen to their loved one after they die, and they are unsure how to secure the person's financial stability. A common and understandable concern is that people with developmental disabilities will lose their public benefits and services if they receive or inherit too much money. Special needs planning with a qualified Torrance estate planning attorney will accomplish dual goals of ensuring the person's finances while maintaining their ability to receive government assistance and services.

Components of Special Needs Planning

Every person with special needs has a unique situation that requires a comprehensive estate planning examination of finances, benefits and services to best suit their lives and to provide for long term care. Components of special needs planning include:

  • Special Needs Trusts: A special needs trust, also called a supplemental needs trust, receives and holds money and property for the support of a disabled individual while preserving the person's eligibility to receive public assistance. Such a trust can go into effect immediately, or the person who creates the trust (the settlor) can make the trust a part of a last will and testament. A special needs trust may also provide estate tax benefits to both the donor and the beneficiary.
  • Conservatorship or Guardianship: Depending on the level of disability, a conservatorship or guardianship may be in the person's best interest. A conservator manages a person's financial affairs, while a guardian is responsible for making decisions for the person and their care.

  • Powers of Attorney: A power of attorney is similar to a conservatorship or guardianship in that it allows the named trusted person to make financial and health care decisions for someone who is incapacitated. Powers of attorney cannot protect against a person's actions and is most useful when a person is in a coma, immobile or otherwise bed-ridden.

  • Medi-Cal Benefits: California offers medical insurance to people with developmental disabilities, among others. The Medi-Cal application is lengthy, complicated and is best completed with the help of a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer.

The Law Offices of James C. Shields in the South Bay is dedicated to helping families and individuals with special needs. Family members should not have to choose between giving their disabled child or relative money or having them receive public assistance, and can rest assured there are ways to accomplish both. Contact our Torrance special needs planning lawyers to learn how you can ensure the best possible quality of life for your loved one with special needs now and in the future.

Call us today at (310) 626-4404 for your free initial consultation.

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