We plan our estates to ensure our loved ones will be okay after we are gone. If a loved one has mental or physical special needs, then your estate planning needs to have special planning itself. So what more should you do to ensure for the happiness and wellbeing of your child with special needs?
Special planning is, of course, very much tied to the needs of your child with special needs and to the needs of the rest of your family. As you might imagine, such planning entails important tools, rules and guides in Overland Park and elsewhere.
To get started, consider a recent article in The Slott Report titled “3 Tips When Planning for a Special Needs Child.”
One of the biggest rules to special needs planning is understanding how public assistance works and its sources.
Generally, the two major sources are Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid. Both programs are “needs-based.” In other words, eligibility to receive benefits is all about qualifying financially, preserving that qualification, and ensuring a painless transition (read: not getting caught in bureaucracy).
Tip #1: Consider implementing the all-important Supplemental Needs Trust. Properly drafted and funded, this is a special trust designed to offer security and care, without endangering needs-based program benefits.
Tip #2: Plan ahead and plan carefully! These public assistance benefits may not be enough or offer as much financial security as you would seek to ensure. In fact, you might want to find a way to leave more behind. Think life insurance.
Tip #3: What’s the final tip? You need to plan for yourself, too, and for your entire estate. As important as your loved one with special needs is, you have to ensure that the rest of your plans work together. For example, you will want to make sure to plan for threats to your own financial security. For example, high long-term care costs in old age could take away your own nest egg and more. Without proper planning now, all could be lost later.
In the end, if there is no security for you, then there may be no future security for you loved ones.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri) and to download free tools to help you organize your estate, visit my estate planning website.
Reference: The Slott Report (November 20, 2013) “3 Tips When Planning for a Special Needs Child”