Worried about the future of your special needs child? Plan ahead

Having a child with special needs likely brought many changes to your life. At first, you probably had concerns and worries about what it would be like to raise a child with learning and ability differences, but over the years, you saw how capable and happy your child was. While your worry — like the worry of most parents — probably never went entirely away, you knew that your child could live a full life.

Of course, you also knew that he or she would need some level of assistance to live that full life. While you and your spouse have certainly provided that assistance with loving hearts, as you get older, your worries have started to focus on what will happen to your child after your passing.

Planning can help

Luckily, parents of special needs children do not have to venture into the unknown and only hope that their children will make it. Numerous estate planning options could allow you and other parents to come up with a plan that could set your children up for success in the future.

First, you may want to look at any benefits your child receives. For example, he or she may receive Social Security payments and Medicaid that help with medical expenses and other costs. If so, you know that he or she will continue to have some income after your passing. However, you could go further and take out a life insurance policy that could provide additional income for your child’s needs. Financial matters will certainly play a big part in planning for the future.

Avoid costly mistakes

If you do take out an insurance policy or have other funds that you wish to leave to your child, it is important that you do not inadvertently put his or her government benefits in jeopardy. Because these benefits hinge on income and financial status, if your child receives a hefty inheritance after your passing, that inheritance could disqualify him or her for needed benefits.

Fortunately, you can create a special needs or supplemental needs trust that could hold the funds for your child. Your child would not have direct ownership of the funds, and as a result, the inheritance would not count toward his or her qualifying income for benefits.

Have the right help

Your family’s and your child’s current and future needs are unique, and you may have many questions about how you could best protect your child’s interests after your passing. If so, you may want to contact an experienced Georgia attorney who could assess your concerns, help you determine the best planning options for your situation and assist you in putting your plans into effect.