** This article has been revised from its original version which was published on October…
Protect Your Special Needs Child: Be Informed & Prepared
Parents of children with special needs will inevitably face the following question: Who is going to make health care and financial decisions for my child when I am unable to do so?
Planning and preparing the appropriate documentation for children with special needs will ensure protection for your loved ones.
Children with Special Needs
The term “special needs” encompasses a broad range of issues including Autism, physical impairments, developmental delays, etc. When children are under the age of 18, parents have the legal right to make decisions on their behalf. Once a child turns 18, however, the parents no longer have this right.
Special needs children may be limited in their ability to maintain gainful employment or to live independently. In some instances, the individual may not have the cognitive capabilities to understand complicated legal decisions—this is when it is particularly important to name a legal guardian.
A Power of Attorney or Health Care Proxy can be utilized to make sure that someone is looking after the best interest of the child.
Government benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid are available for people with special needs—these assist with health care expenses and provide a monthly stipend.
In addition, various types of trusts can be set up for people with special needs. The Supplemental Needs Trust allows family members to leave money to a special needs child without affecting eligibility for government benefits.
Some years ago, I worked with a multi-generational family to create a trust for an autistic child by placing his great grandmother’s assets into a trust. One month after the trust was set up, she started to receive Medicaid; her assets were protected and the little boy had ongoing support. His parents no longer had to scramble in order to pay medical bills.
By working with a professional, you can explore the many options available to protect children with special needs. If you have any questions, our office is here to help.
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