** This article has been revised from its original version which was published on October…
Special Needs and Disability Checklist
Caring for the everyday needs of a Special Needs person can be challenging. Are they receiving all of the benefits they are entitled to? Who will render care to them if you are no longer able to? Creating a plan for a seamless care transition will help relieve anxiety for the caretaker and maintain normalcy for your loved one. Below is a helpful special needs and disability checklist.
- Assess your loved one’s abilities and developmental potential.
- Create a Life Plan (also known as a Letter of Intent or Letter of Instruction), which can serve as an instruction manual. It should include critical information for family members and future caretakers such as:
- Medical history
- Physician Information
- Social aspects
- Goals for the future
- Have a family meeting to ensure all interested parties are informed and know where to find the Life Plan.
- Identify your loved one’s assets, availability of financial resources, government benefits (such as SSI, SSD, section 8 housing, food stamps, Medicaid, etc.), insurance, and employer benefits.
- Consider funding an ABLE account to manage expenses.
- Choose a guardian to oversee your loved one’s care in your absence. If your loved one is approaching the age of majority (18 in NYS), a guardianship proceeding may be necessary for you to continue making legal and medical decisions.
- Carefully review the titling of your assets and your beneficiary designations to ensure that an inheritance will not inadvertently disrupt your loved one’s governmental benefits.
- Creation of a Supplemental Needs Trust to provide for luxury items to improve quality of life.
Using this special needs and disability checklist is a good first step. Meeting with a qualified estate planning attorney can also put your mind at ease. We can review the life plan for your loved one, assess the availability of government benefits, commence a guardianship proceeding (if needed) and create a comprehensive estate plan for you. Let us help you check some boxes off your list!
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