In today’s blog post, we’re taking a look at how parents of children with special needs can plan for the future and avoid stressful situations. 

Every person with special needs faces a different situation, but we’ve often worked with families of special needs people who are not in a position to care for themselves financially once they reach legal adulthood at the age of eighteen. Often their special needs prevent them from working or living independently and they do not have assets or income of their own other than, perhaps, supplemental security income (SSI). We’ve seen many cases where special needs people in this situation come into money through an inheritance. When this happens, it brings up two major problems. 

Problem #1: Even a relatively small inheritance can jeopardize the special needs person’s government benefits.

Problem #2: When your child or grandchild inherits money from you in the wrong way, a conservatorship will have to be established via probate court and the conservator will have to account for every dime of that individual’s money. It will only be able to be spent with court permission.

How can you avoid these problems? The answer is simple. You must plan in advance if your special needs son or daughter will ever be inheriting assets from you, from a grandparent, or from anyone else.

Estate planning that centers around probate avoidance will help you avoid the risks above. Your estate planning attorney can help you make a plan that fits your individual needs, but it is likely that you will be utilizing a special needs trust. When you create a special needs trust, you can appoint a person you trust to manage the inheritance on behalf of the person with special needs. Let’s look at some of the benefits:

  • A special needs trust protects your child from being forced to manage money on their own, which may be out of his or her capabilities.
  • Your loved ones do not have to navigate probate court and no one will have to ask for court permission to handle things.
  • It all stays private, unlike probate proceedings.

If you are ready to plan for the future to protect your special needs loved one, Attorney J. Kevin Tharpe is here to help. If you have questions about special needs trusts or other estate planning matters, please feel free to reach out! You can contact us at (866) 253-6994. We can’t wait to hear from you!