Do you have a child with special needs? If yes, then you must read this!
I was with a client a few days ago (signing her estate planning documents) who brought in her two nieces and heirs to the signing meeting. It happens that one of the nieces has a special needs child — an autistic child. I always call people with special needs, children, even though they are already over the age of 18 and are considered, by law, adults. Why? because they are usually unable to provide for themselves, live on their own, and sometimes, they even need assistance with daily living activities.
As we reviewed the aunt’s documents, the niece sure had questions. She first told me how she could not leave any money to his autistic son (who is already 24) because if she did, her son would lose his disability and Medicaid benefits. She went further to say that she has named her daughter as the only beneficiary of her accounts and life insurance. I flipped. She noted, “I cannot leave anything to my son, so I am going to have my daughter provide for him.” I must add [out of her own free will]. My jaw just dropped and I wanted to scream. Nooo. I said: No!
She looked at me puzzled. What is that “no” all about? I could read in her query eyes.
I could not help it. I opened her aunt’s file and looked for a blank page and I went on to explain how a plan for her could totally benefit her son without affecting her special child’s governmental assistance.
The main points here:
What is the solution? A Special Needs Trust!
Every family has different needs, but certainly, a special needs trust will make sure that the disabled child continues to qualify for governmental benefits and will be able to secure his inheritance for his own benefit. Yes, both can happen at the same time. There are restrictions on the special needs trust and the way the money can be used, but at the end, there are more benefits than restrictions. In addition, you can always control what happens to the property you leave your child as well as residence choices by the use of trust planning.
So, please do not voluntarily disinherit your child with the most needs. Leave it to your disabled child in the proper way!
If you have any questions or concerns, give us a call at 305-456-7158. We will be happy to set a time to talk about your specific needs and the solutions to those needs. There is no obligation.
Yahima Suarez, Esq.
Yahima Suarez, PA