Key Points Of Special Needs Planning
- Special Needs Planning – start as soon as possible to avoid important decisions being made for the individual with disabilities by government agencies, the state and the courts.
- Lifestyle preferences, legal issues, financial security and access to government benefits should all be considered during the planning process.
- A Special Needs Trust, prepared by a professional with experience in estate and future needs planning for persons with disabilities, can preserve government benefits and avoid the loss of assets intended for the person with disabilities.
- A Letter of Intent creates a record of critical information about the day-to-day care needs, abilities, diet, activities, rights, and medical care for the person with a disability.
- Upon attaining age 18, individuals with disabilities are emancipated adults under the law. Leaving the parents or primary caregivers without any authority to act on the person’s behalf. Understanding your legal options pertaining to guardianship and conservatorship are an important part of planning.
- A Guardian is a legally appointed person responsible for the care and decisions made on behalf of a person deemed unable to manage certain necessary functions for themselves. A Conservator manages the person’s financial affairs. A Trustee manages the trust established for the individual. The same person can serve in one or all capacities.
- Starting Special Needs Planning early enables the family to build the Special Needs Trust fund and make plans that will serve the individual with disabilities well for years to come.