If you have a child with special needs, plan with one of our special needs planning attorneys. As your child goes through life’s stages from infancy to adulthood, it is necessary to consider the care they’ll require at each step. Plan for education, healthcare, finances, and how your child will be provided for after your death.
Stage 1: Planning For Infancy And Pre-Adolescence
- Diagnose your child’s special needs. With a diagnosis from a doctor, your child is eligible for legal protections under specific laws for education, advocacy, and accommodations.
- Create a plan to manage early childhood healthcare. Will your child need to take medication at school? Will your child need frequent time away from school to see doctors or specialists? Who will be allowed to accompany your child to their appointments? Create a plan for guardianship and medical power of attorney if you are unable to provide medical care in the event of your death or incapacity.
- Create a plan for education and educational advocacy for your child. Your child will likely require additional accommodations to attend school. We can help you learn about key legislation to protect your child in school. For example, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act provides early intervention and special education services for children with disabilities.
- Develop a plan for finances. Caring for a child with special needs is expensive, but can be manageable with help from special needs assistance groups. Plus, financial planning for your child to outlive you may be difficult to think about, but it is possible with assistance from a life insurance policy, Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid, and your estate planning.
Stage 2: Planning For Adolescence
- Create a plan for advanced education. Is high school graduation in the future? Possibly college? Many special needs young adults pursue higher education and attend college or vocational school. Research the various options and plan if your child wants to pursue higher learning.
- Prepare to name yourself or a trusted person for durable power of attorney. A durable power of attorney (DPOA) cannot be assigned to a minor, but you can prepare to name a DPOA ahead of time for a smooth transition. By assigning a DPOA, you’ll be able to continue representing the best interests of your child.
- Help your child gain work experience. Many special needs employment groups offer individual advocacy with job coaches to help your child get a job and learn the necessary tasks of their new role. Your child could benefit from finding a summer job or an after-school job to begin learning new responsibilities and understanding the culture of a work setting.
Stage 3: Planning For Adulthood
- Declare a durable power of attorney. Once your child turns 18, they are legally an adult. If your child needs assistance in making decisions, make sure you have a plan in place to name yourself or a trusted person as a durable power of attorney to represent your adult child’s best interests for health, financial, or legal decisions.
- Organize your finances and benefits for use after your passing. Your adult child will have to live without you. Ensure that you have a stable life insurance policy and an estate plan with named beneficiaries. You may also consider placing assets into a revocable living trust so they are protected from probate.
- Claim SSI/Medicaid for your adult special needs child. Parents can claim Supplemental Security Income (SSI) while their special needs child is a minor. There is a possibility SSI will look at your income and may declare your child ineligibly, but when your child turns 18, SSI will review their income and assets. If the amount is less than $2,000, then your adult child may be eligible for SSI and Medicaid.
Finding A Special Needs Planning Lawyer Near Me
At Carolina Family Estate Planning, we approach things differently than other firms. We focus on our clients’ needs to create comprehensive estate plans that protect their loved ones. We offer a free e-book on legal planning for parents of special needs children free e-book on legal planning. We can set up a vision meeting between you and a special needs planning attorney to help you start preparing how to safeguard them now and in the future.
Call Carolina Family Estate Planning at (919) 443-3035 today or fill out our contact form to schedule a needs assessment.
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