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Estate Planning with Special Needs Children

Estate planning is an important part of life that many young families often ignore. Whether it be a lack of time or the fear of facing one’s mortality, too many young families fall into the trap of saying, “I’ll get to this tomorrow.” Estate planning for young families typically revolves around planning for the care of young children in the event one or both parents become incapacitated or pass away. When planning for a young family with a child with special needs, the family should consider implementing a plan that includes the use of a special needs trust.

This article from Statesman, “What to consider when estate planning if your child has special needs,” explains that failure to use a special needs trust may inadvertently disqualify your child with special needs from public benefits such as Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid.  In addition, a special needs trust allows the family to name an individual or corporate trustee to manage the trust for the benefit of the child with special needs if the parents become incapacitated or pass away. 

Though estate planning can be unpleasant to talk about at first, implementing a proper estate plan should give young families peace of mind knowing that their children will be taken care of for years to come. For extended family members like grandparents, aunts and uncles, trusts (rather than direct gifts or other kinds of trusts) should be incorporated when providing for loved ones with disabilities of all ages.

We can help with that— our firm regularly counsels and advises clients with children and grandchildren with special needs and can help guide you through the tricky maze of public benefits laws to insure you preserve your children’s or grandchildren’s eligibility to public benefits. 

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the firm at 205.536.8888 or contact us through our website at www.dfhlaw.com.

Vince Schilleci is a Shareholder at Dominick Feld Hyde and focuses on business planning, succession planning, real estate, taxation, estate planning, and probate administration

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