Special needs children can face medical, physical and logistical challenges that can endure far after their parents or guardians pass. If you’re a parent of a special needs child, what can you do to prevent future issues? How can you ensure your child obtains fair benefits from the government, manages his or her finances safely and stays away from potential threats—such as unscrupulous “business partners” and thieves?
Setting up a Special Needs Trust (SNT) is one effective solution. According to California law, this legal document protects the financial interests of those with physical or mental disabilities and helps them qualify for needed government benefits without having to “use up” other assets first.
Many conditions require special medical attention. Some, like epilepsy, may require constant vigilance, but medication and/or time can help control them. Others are life long. Those who suffer may require round the clock care or supervision. Below, we’ve listed three common medical conditions that create challenges for families along with strategic approaches they can use to handle financial planning issues:
- Down syndrome. This genetic condition causes many cognitive and physical delays. Although adults with Down syndrome can mostly care for their daily needs and find employment, advanced financial planning can guarantee adequate living arrangements and support. Creating the right trusts and other estate planning structures can prevent a Down syndrome adult from being exploited financially and allow him or her to enjoy freedom to travel and pursue career goals.
- Cerebral palsy. Brain injury or malformation that occurs before, during or after birth often causes cerebral palsy, which is the most common physical disability in children. Every case of this disease is unique. The financial care a child with CP needs depends on his or her condition. In addition to establishing a Special Needs Trust, you may want to speak with a qualified financial advisor and estate planning attorney to develop other strategies to protect the child’s future.
- Autism and Asperger’s syndrome. Children who suffer from these conditions struggle to socially engage and find verbal and non-verbal communication difficult, although that description may oversimplify the care these individuals need. What causes these disorders is still a mystery, although recent research suggests that genetic predispositions, prenatal incidents and insulin resistance caused or worsened by certain dietary factors could contribute. Parents with children on the autism spectrum must monitor them closely and practice vigilant, patient care. From a financial planning perspective, you may need to establish controls regarding how and under what circumstances to transfer assets or control of financial instruments to your children to ensure that they are managed properly.
Beyond Setting Up a Special Needs Trusts in CA
An experienced attorney can help you protect your child’s future benefits, such as disability and Social Security, and create a structured, effective plan. Call our compassionate legal team today to discuss your options.