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Incorporating a special needs child in estate planning

In many situations, once children turn 18, they are no longer legally bound to their parents. However, Florida families with a special needs child will find that their responsibility often extends well into the child’s adulthood. At Levins & Associates, L.L.C., we understand the importance of ensuring that your children will be taken care of no matter what their age or situation.

According to Forbes magazine, there are several steps that parents of special needs children should take when doing their estate planning, such as the following: 

  • Set up a special needs guardianship, which will establish a parent or another adult as the person responsible for the child once he or she turns 18.
  • Include any information regarding a special needs trust or other funds set aside for the child.
  • Document case workers, government agencies and any other entity that has been involved in the care of the child.
  • Itemize benefits the child receives and copies of the applications for such benefits.

Experts recommend that parents place a letter of intent with the estate plan. This document should be updated annually with vital information about the special needs child, such as eating and sleeping habits. This will enable future caregivers to seamlessly provide for the child in the event the parents are no longer able to.

Along those lines, parents should also make sure that their own health care directives are in place. Should the guardian of a special needs child become incapacitated, having a clear plan of action will ensure that family members will know how to proceed.

For more information on this topic, please visit our page on a special needs guardianship.

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