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Modern Estate Planning Blog

Elder Law & Special Needs Planning

Shocking! Very Few Parents Have Planned Ahead to Protect Their Child with Disabilities

April 12, 2018

I read something recently that I found shocking. A study set to be published next month in the Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities reports that only 3.6% of parents surveyed who have children with intellectual and developmental disabilities have established legal guardianship/conservatorship, Powers of Attorney or have secured residential placement for their child in the event the child outlives them.

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.

Oftentimes parents are consumed with day-to-day activities for their child and there are just so many hours in the day. The thing is, I’ve seen the other side of the situation far too many times. When the parents of disabled individuals 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 brother and sister. 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.

If you are reading this blog and searching for reliable information about planning for your child, you are in the right place. Special needs planning is one of our key practice areas and I have a particular passion around 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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Very professional, comprehensive service and extremely valuable. Heather and her team are very knowledgeable and we feel they have our best interests at heart. They make uncomfortable decision conversations possible and manageable. Working with Heather we were able to focus our attention on important issues that we questioned or purposely avoided for too long. Now that these questions are answered and our family is covered, it's a wonderful feeling.

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