If you care for a loved one with special needs, whether they’re a child or an adult, you know what a big responsibility it is to make sure that they are provided for and given everything they need to live a happy, healthy life. You also likely have a big question looming somewhere on the horizon: What will happen to your special needs family member if you pass away or are otherwise no longer able to provide care? In today’s blog, we’re looking at a few things you can do to give yourself peace of mind that your special needs loved one will be cared for even after you are gone.

  1. Have an open dialog with your family.

Don’t feel like you have to sort out your worries alone. You are likely not the only one in your family who loves the special needs family member that you’re in charge of caring for. It is important to have an open dialog with your family about who is willing to take on duties of caring for your loved one if you pass away. You will likely be pleasantly surprised by how many people are willing to help. 

However, if you don’t have a big family, or if for whatever reason open dialog does not reveal anyone who is willing to step up, don’t worry. There are other options, and with a solid plan in place, everything will be fine!

  1. Appoint a guardian.

You should choose a guardian who is ready and willing to take on the duty of caring for your special needs loved one in whatever capacity they need. When it comes to adults, there are different types of guardianship and conservatorships that you can choose from, depending on the level of care your special needs family member requires. As mentioned above, it is okay if no one in your family can step up as a guardian. There are other options such as public agencies and nonprofits.

  1. Create a special needs trust.

A special needs trusts allows you to provide financially for your special needs loved one after you’re gone. You will be able to allocate certain funds to their care and name them beneficiary. Then, a trustee can give them money for things they need, pay their medical bills, etc. There are two types of special needs trusts in Georgia — self-settled trusts and third-party special needs trusts — and an attorney can help you determine which is a better fit for your situation.

Who can help?

If you want to make a plan to ensure your special needs family member will be cared for after you are gone, you need to talk to an estate planning attorney with extensive experience in special needs planning. Attorney J. Kevin Tharpe is here to help. To learn more, give us a call at (866) 253-6994.