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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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I was absolutely without a clue as to how to begin or what I should do to establish an estate plan. I did know that I wanted someone I could trust, that was honest and I would have confidence in. I was referred to Heather by my friend who was being legally advised by Heather on another estate. She was very satisfied with her work and thought I might be happy with her service. At our consultation appointment, her presentation was very thorough. I had lots of questions, and she was easy to talk to and was able to guide me to just the kind of estate plan I needed. That was 10 years ago. Due to circumstances in my life, I have had to make changes to my plan, and I always go back to her for her legal services and guidance. I have recommended Heather before.

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