When it comes to special needs planning as a part of your estate plan, it’s very important to do it as soon as you can. For one thing, once your child turns 18, you may no longer have a say in some of these critical decisions. But you can do this while your child is still minor and you are legally in a position to set things up in a way that will benefit their future.
Failing to plan can often lead to a crisis. This takes time, and time may be something that your family simply doesn’t have. These decisions must be made and your heir must be cared for, so you do not want to take a risk and put it off. It’s much better to have a plan in place in advance, even if that plan isn’t used for years. So what should it entail?
Creating a trust
One option to consider is setting up a special needs trust. If someone has more than $2,000 in financial assets, then they may not be able to qualify for SSI or the types of government benefits that they require. If you leave your air $100,000 in a will, they have to spend all of that money before they qualify for the benefits again. But if you put $100,000 into a special needs trust, that does not disqualify them because they do not technically own those financial assets.
Choosing a guardian
Another thing to keep in mind is that your heir may need someone to help care for them and make decisions even after you pass away. You can establish this guardianship through your estate plan, giving you time to make sure that you choose the right person and officially giving them the legal standing to assist your child if necessary.
When should you get started?
Whether you are most worried about asset protection against Medicaid, about the guardianship that your child will live under in the future or even about liability risks and other such potential issues, it’s best to do your estate planning soon. Be sure you know exactly what legal options you have to get the right plan in place for your family.