As a leading estate planning attorney in South Florida, we are often faced with many questions regarding how to best plan for your financial future when children are involved. One important issue that must be prepared for properly, is how to set up your estate plan when you have a child or children with special needs.
At Grimaldi Law Firm in Hollywood, Florida, we make sure to not only educate parents about their rights and best practices, we ensure that your estate plan will have your child’s best needs at heart.
First things first: all parents, no matter their children’s age, learning capabilities or physical abilities, must have an estate plan.
But just having a plan is not enough.
Here are three ways to ensure that your child with disabilities will be properly taken care of when you are no longer around.
1. Do not leave anything directly to your child with special needs
One of the most important things to bear in mind when assembling your estate plan is that if your child needs to be cared for by you now, they will likely need caring for once you aren’t around, especially when it comes to handling finances. Instead, your estate should, at a minimum, flow through your own will into a special needs trust for your child's benefit. A properly drafted special needs trust will protect your child's benefits and allow your estate to be utilized as you intended without interference from outside sources.
2. Appoint a guardian carefully
Now is the perfect time to appoint someone that will be responsible for taking care of your child in the future. Because this kind of care will involve more time and attention than a typically-developing child would need, it is important to ensure you are choosing someone not just based on their relation to your child, but on how capable they are of caring for someone with special needs.
3. Don’t forget about life insurance
You may have innocently listed your special needs child as a beneficiary to your life insurance policy, and that’s okay – this is common! While you are getting your financial plans in order, it’s important to remember that your life insurance policy should also be protected so that your child will not have outright access to its sum. Instead, place your child's share of these important assets into a properly configured special needs trust. And make sure to address these complicated tax issues first
Lastly, don’t forget to have this conversation with family members as well. While they may feel they are doing the right thing in leaving your special needs child money or property, you’ll want them to also understand the intricacies of estate planning for children with special needs.
And of course, for all your estate planning needs, Grimaldi Law Firm is here to answer any questions you may have. Contact us today to set up a Family Planning Session.
At Grimaldi Law Firm, your future is our present.
We can be reached at (954) 491-8707
Special Note: The information on this blog is of a general nature and is not intended to answer any individual’s legal questions. Do not rely on information presented herein to address your individual legal concerns. If you have a legal question about your individual facts and circumstances, you should consult an experienced real estate attorney. Your receipt of information from this website or blog does not create an attorney-client relationship and the legal privileges inherent therein.