Special Needs Planning

"I am a member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners"

The most frequent question that I receive as an estate planning attorney is, "What will happen to my special needs child if something happens to me?" Parents specifically want answers to the following:

  • Where will my special needs child live?
  • Who will take care of my child on a daily basis?
  • How will my special needs child get to doctors' appointments, school or to other activities?
  • Who will provide for my special child's housing, clothing, food and medical needs?

A proper special needs estate plan consists of a special needs trust and ancillary documents pertaining thereto as well as a last will and testament, general durable power of attorney and a living will for each parent. Together, these documents will create financial provisions for the care and support of your child while at the same time protecting his or her government benefits.

In addition to a special needs trust, it is also in the interest of many families to establish a guardianship for adult children living with special needs.

Does My Child Need A Trust?

A special needs trust will work alongside government benefits, allowing your child to maintain eligibility for support. Knowing that your loved one with a disability will be cared for financially and medically allows you to live at ease. Designating someone you know, love and trust to serve as a trustee of the special needs trust is beneficial, as they can use discretion over how your money is spent to benefit your loved one.

This is helpful since the special needs individual may not be able to make financially wise decisions and the special needs trust will prevent them from losing government benefits.

Some of the benefits of a special needs trust include:

  • All of the goods and services your special child or loved one needs will be paid for through the trust at the approval of the trustee, based on appropriate following of government guidelines.
  • Almost every type of property can be included in a special needs trust, including real estate, a business, jewelry or other valuable goods. The important thing is to ensure that your loved one has enough money to pay for their basic needs and other enjoyable pastimes.

An Experienced Lawyer Serving Western Pennsylvania

It is important that the trustee follows the federal and state guidelines pertaining to the administration of special needs trusts to make certain that neither the trust funds nor any government benefits are compromised.

If you would like more information on how to create a properly drafted special needs trust as well as additional information on special needs estate planning, contact my law office online or call 412-637-2596 and schedule a free initial consultation in my Pittsburgh-area office.

REMOTE SERVICES - It doesn't matter if you live down the street from my law office or on the other side of the state. I will prepare your documents based on information that you provide to me via email and telephone conversations. Contact my office today and I will email you the information form for you to complete. I will draft your documents and send them to you in a leather, tabbed binder within 72 hours of receiving all of the requested information. All special needs documents prepared via email and telephone conversations receive a 20% discount off the normal fee due to time saved in not meeting in person at the office.

Special Needs Planning Articles