If you have a child with special needs, you may be tempted to assume that if something happens to you or your partner, your other children will take care of their sibling. However, it's important to take the time now to create a legal plan for your child so that they are always protected no matter what happens. This includes creating a Special Needs Trust, naming backup guardians/conservators, and considering housing scenarios in the event that their siblings can’t care for them.
Creating a Special Needs Trust
A Special Needs Trust (SNT) is an essential tool for families who have children with disabilities or special healthcare needs. It allows parents or other family members to provide financial support for those individuals without affecting their eligibility for government benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The trust is created by an attorney and must comply with federal and state laws. A trustee is chosen to oversee the trust fund and ensure that it’s used only for the benefit of the beneficiary.
Naming Backup Guardians/Conservators
In addition to creating an SNT, it’s also important for parents of children with special needs to name backup guardians/conservators who can step in if something happens to them. These individuals should be carefully selected based on their experience working with people who have disabilities and an understanding of what they need. Parents should also consider having conversations with potential guardians about how they would handle certain issues related to their child’s care, such as medical decisions and therapies.
Alternative Housing Situations
Finally, it’s important for parents of children with special needs to consider alternative housing arrangements in case one of their siblings is unable or unwilling to take in their brother or sister after they pass away or become incapacitated. This could mean looking into group homes or other residential facilities that specialize in caring for individuals with disabilities. It’s also important to consider how these housing arrangements can be funded through government programs like Medicaid or SSI, or through private funding sources such as trusts or foundations set up specifically for this purpose.
Contact a Pennsylvania Special Needs Lawyer
Your child's future is important – and with the right planning, you can ensure that it remains secure. If you are ready to get started, contact us by clicking the link below. Our Pennsylvania special needs lawyers are here to guide you through every step of the planning process.