Estate Planning For Special Needs Children
As a parent, you want to be sure your child is provided for. This is particularly important when your child has disabilities or special needs. Our Tampa estate planning attorney shares practical tips and tools that can help protect them, now and in the years to come.
Practical Estate Planning When A Child Has Special Needs
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over three million children have some type of physical, emotional, or developmental disability. This can impact their health and their ability to obtain an education, interact with others, operate a vehicle, hold a job, and perform various personal or household tasks.
As a parent, you are their strongest advocate. Unfortunately, unexpected situations can arise that prevent you from fulfilling this role. To protect children with special needs, put the following estate planning documents in place:
- A will: Everyone should have a will. It provides an inventory of all property and assets, designates beneficiaries, and conveys your wishes regarding who provides for your child.
- Advance directives: These provide instructions for medical personnel in the event you are incapacitated, which avoids putting your special needs children in an otherwise overwhelming situation.
- Power of attorney: This designates someone you trust to manage your financial affairs on your behalf. Consider creating one for your special needs child as well and consider options in terms of guardianships once they reach the age of 18.
- Special needs trust: Similar to a will, a trust designates beneficiaries and details how you want money and property distributed. However, a trust provides for more detailed arrangements. It allows you to make periodic payments, rather than giving your child a lump sum, which can help ensure future financial security. It also allows you to make specific distributions to designated guardians to cover your child’s housing, medical expenses, and other costs.
Protecting Your Special Needs Child Now And In The Future
In addition to putting the appropriate estate planning documents in place to protect special needs children in the event anything happens to you, there are other steps you can take to help them now and in the future. These include:
- Learn all you can about their disability. The more you know about the issues they struggle with, the better you will be able to relate to them and act as an advocate on your behalf.
- Find doctors, therapists, and other providers you can trust. Finding the right medical providers can prove challenging. Shop around until you find people you trust who provide quality care and whom you can form long-term relationships with.
- Access resources in the community: Fun 4 Tampa Kids provides a list of support services and activities in the area catered to special needs children and their families.
Reach Out To Our Tampa Estate Planning Attorney
At Strategic Counsel Law Group, L.C., we provide caring support for parents with special needs children, guiding them in putting the appropriate estate planning documents in place. To request a consultation, reach out and contact our Tampa estate planning attorney today.