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Modern Estate Planning Blog

Elder Law & Special Needs Planning

How Not Properly Planning Can Cost Your Special Needs Child Their Benefits Later

April 1, 2019

Proper planning for a loved one, be it a child or adult, with a disability or degenerative disease is critical to provide for the time when you can no longer be here.

Did you know that when you leave an inheritance outright to a person with special needs:

  • he or she will own the money, and those funds will be counted in determining financial eligibility for federal and state assistance programs, resulting in loss of your child’s benefits (SSI, Medi-Cal, etc.)?
  • government benefits for housing, medical care, education, therapy, and caregivers may be cut off completely?
  • Your child will then be obligated to spend his or her entire inheritance for all living and medical expenses before he or she is again eligible for government assistance?
  • There will be nothing left for his or her supplemental needs: education, special outings, vacations, trips to see family members, a new tv or cd player – items which seemingly essential to us, the government will not pay for?
  • The disabled child goes without

Thanks to improvements in healthcare, more and more individuals with disabilities are outliving their parents. So, why aren’t parents taking steps to avoid a crisis situation regarding their child’s future? Sixty-one percent of the parents who hadn’t planned indicated that cost, lack of time and stress are the primary barriers to planning.

Believe me, I understand that.

It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day activities for your child—after all, there are only so many hours in a day. However, I’ve seen the other side of this far too many times. When the parents of individuals with disabilities pass, there is often chaos and confusion. This happens even if there is a sibling willing to step in and take over care of their sibling. Without the proper legal documentation in place, there can be a period of turmoil while the court process takes place.

One other interesting fact from the study was that 39% of respondents reported a lack of information as a barrier to future planning. Again, this is understandable. While there are reputable sources to be found online, there is a lot of confusion about special needs planning.

Special needs planning is one of our key practice areas and I have a particular passion for educating the public. If you’d like assistance, simply call our office at (916) 241-9661 and schedule a consultation. We’d be happy to answer your questions and help you map out a plan that ensures your child would be protected through all of life’s transitions.

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