Planning for family members with special needs presents its own set of challenges and concerns. As every family is unique, so is every person with a disability. While some individuals with special needs may require assistance with activities of daily living, others are able to take care of themselves physically but may require assistance with money management. Still others may have physical limitations but have capacity to make their own decisions. A primary planning concern in this area is preserving any governmental benefits to which the individual may be entitled. For parents wishing to leave their estate to a child with a disability, careful planning is paramount to ensure that the child receives the inheritance in a way which will not jeopardize any governmental benefits to which such child may be entitled.
Tools commonly used as a part of special needs planning include self-settled supplemental needs trusts, third party supplemental needs trusts, and, more recently, ABLE accounts. Recent changes in the law, including the Stephen Beck Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act and the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act, reflect our society’s changing values and increasing recognition of the importance of providing flexibility under the law to meet the needs of the individual while simultaneously respecting his or her rights.
If you are interested in learning more about planning for a family member with special needs, please contact me for a consultation. I am available to meet with you during regular business hours or by appointment on weekends and evenings.