Families who have members with special needs have a variety of concerns that most of the population don’t deal with on a regular basis. Whether you’re traveling to occupational therapy appointments, choosing the most effective medical devices, or contemplating whether to “mainstream” your special needs child, there are so many parts and pieces to keep in mind. For that very reason, you may not have even considered the need to meet with a special needs planning lawyer in Northwest Iowa.
You spend a lot of your time and energy helping your family members with special needs to get the most out of life. How are you going to keep that up if you become incapacitated or deceased? Working with an experienced special needs lawyer is a really important step in making that a reality. The attorney will help you get your affairs in order and will be able to advise you on areas that you might not even realize need attention. Taking care of these issues now means that things are in place and ready to go should you suddenly become unable to care for your family member.
Consideration #1 – Creating a Guardianship
You likely have very strong feelings about who you would and would not like to be responsible for your family member in your absence. For example, you may feel that one of your adult children would be an excellent care taker while also being sure that you would not want your parents to be given guardianship. If you don’t specify this clearly and legally, then the decision would be up to the courts, and your opinion on the matter will have no weight at all.
Consideration #2 – Inheriting Assets
Many special needs attorneys in Northwest Iowa will recommend that you not leave assets to your family member with special needs. This doesn’t mean you don’t care for the person or want to recognize them in your will. The point is, if the individual inherits assets, they can cause him or her to suddenly be disqualified from various types of assistance programs. In fact, Medicaid could even view the acquisition of assets as a reason to go back and try to get payment for benefits paid out in the past.
Consideration #3 – Setting Up a Special Needs Trust
Depending on your situation, your special needs planning attorney in Northwest Iowa may recommend that you set up a specific trust for the family member. You will also need to determine how the trust will be funded, with life insurance being a common choice. Again, this action is intended as a way to protect the individual’s ability to qualify for certain types of benefits and public programs. In addition to possibly providing assets and funding for the family member with special needs, this kind of trust can also name someone you trust as the legal manager of those funds.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of preparing for your loved one’s future, especially when it is apparent that he or she will be dependent upon others for a lifetime. Working with a special needs planning attorney in Northwest Iowa will ensure you remember to think through the three things mentioned in this post:
- Creating a Guardianship;
- Inheriting assets; and
- Setting up a Special Needs Trust.