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What parents of disabled children should know about estate planning

As the parents of a disabled child, you naturally do everything in your power to ensure that they are not only provided for in every conceivable way, but also that their lives are both happy and fulfilling. While these efforts are to be commended, it's also important to remember that your parental duties extend beyond just the here and now.

Specifically, it's imperative for parents with disabled children to make sure that they have the necessary estate plan in place, as it can help ensure that their child's emotional, financial and medical needs will continue to be met in the event of their untimely demise.

This naturally begs the question as to what components will need to be included as part of a comprehensive estate plan designed to protect the wellbeing of a special needs child.

According to experts, parents in these situations should consider executing the following, as it will provide them with much-needed peace of mind about the future:

  • A simple will designating a guardian for the disabled child: Experts indicate that parents must have a long and meaningful conversation with any potential guardian to ensure they understand what their responsibilities would be. In addition, they advise drafting a letter outlining as much information as possible about your child, including everything from their medical providers and everyday preferences to your desires for their care and upbringing.
  • Life insurance: Experts advise both parents to always maintain the necessary life insurance policies, even if one parent doesn't work but serves as the child's primary caretaker. This can help ensure the child's needs are covered financially.
  • A special needs trust: Experts strongly urge parents to consider the creation of a special needs trust. While this is a rather complex legal topic, it is essentially an estate planning tool that allows money to be put aside for the child without compromising their ability to receive much-needed government benefits such as Supplemental Security Income or Medicaid.

If you have questions or would like to learn more about special needs trusts, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional to learn more.     

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