Plan Your Estate and The Affairs of "Special Needs" Loved Ones to Ensure They Are Cared For Later

Failure to act on life changing events can leave massive regret and pain. Nowhere else is this more evident than planning for the future of family and loved ones. Contacting an attorney in order to draw up a will and any other legal documents needs to be a priority. Life is a fragile commodity which can not be replaced. Leaving family behind is bad enough, but dying out of turn and leaving children, special needs individuals or the disabled behind without an estate plan is a crime.
Without proper legal preparation those family members left behind become a statistic to the government and legal system. Just having a will may not always be sufficient. Trusts can be an effective method for ensuring the management of assets and monies over time. Where the apparent benefits of a complete estate plan become immediately evident and come into play is when special needs or developmentally hindered individuals are not able to make informed decision on their own behalf. Estate plans can not only take into account financial matters, but medical and emotional ones as well. When provisions have not been made in way of a will, trust and other estate planning, the surviving family members are relegated to impartial social workers and government administered programs, which are only able to follow a very narrow set of options.
Among these programs, which is consistently featured in the media, is the foster care system. Fortunately the foster home system has replaced orphanages and can often be extremely successful in finding a loving and caring home for orphaned children. Sometimes it is not. Finding a home with responsible and right-abiding adults for a child is challenging enough, but when the child is developmentally disabled and has special needs it is a near impossibility.
One of the best methods for ensuring that a child left behind is cared for as the parent would wish is a special needs trust. Properly executed a trust can provide for the child without them losing government benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI). While a will designates which assets are distributed to whom, that same inheritance can negate government benefits and used in turn to pay back past outstanding expenses. A trust has the ability to circumvent these "penalties" while using the resources of the estate for the individual which it was intended. It is recommended that a person not attempt to treat an estate plan as a do-it-yourself task. A knowledgeable and experienced attorney should be consulted throughout the entire process.


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