Wilmington Special Needs Planning Lawyer

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Wilmington Special Needs Planning Lawyer

Estate planning is an important process for everyone, but those who have disabled children have especially pressing responsibilities when it comes to securing a stable future for their children. This kind of planning can benefit from the experience and expertise of a Wilmington special needs planning lawyer who can walk you through the steps and answer any questions that might arise.

What Is Special Needs Planning?

General estate planning involves setting up documentation to outline what will happen upon your death or medical incapacitation including a last will and testament. When you have a disabled child, this planning needs to include a different set of considerations. That process is referred to as special needs planning, and it often includes setting up and maintaining the following:

  • Federal and state benefits (SSI, Medicaid, food support, etc.)
  • Authorized guardianship/supervision for the child (whether a minor or adult)
  • Trust funds and inheritance distribution
  • ABLE accounts
  • Care plans for daily activities and life goals

What Does a Wilmington Special Needs Planning Lawyer Do?

It can be overwhelming to wade through the various options for which accounts to set up and how to make sure the paperwork is accurate and thorough. A Wilmington special needs planning lawyer will walk you through this process.

With the help of your special needs estate planning attorney, you can have the peace of mind that you’ve set up a smooth transition into lifelong care with the stability and support necessary for your child to be safe and secure.

Essential Special Needs Planning Tools and Documents

There are many possible tools and programs that can be part of special needs planning, and the eligibility varies for each of them. Often, special needs planning will involve some combination of the following:

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI): This federal program is needs-based, and each state has its own eligibility threshold.
  • Medicaid: This federal health program is often available to adults with disabilities. Medicaid planning can be an important part of your child’s future.
  • Trusts: There are a variety of ways to set up trusts naming your disabled child as a beneficiary. Knowing the correct way to set up trust administration for your individual circumstances can help ensure eligibility for public programs.
  • ABLE account: This tax-advantaged savings account is specifically available to those with disabilities. The funds pooled in this account will—for the most part —not impact eligibility for public services and can be used to pay for day-to-day living expenses.

When Should I Contact a Wilmington Special Needs Planning Lawyer?

It’s never too early to start estate planning. Even if you are unsure about what your child will need in the future, setting up a plan that addresses your family’s known situation now will give you peace of mind and a foundational starting place for future alterations and additions.

Reaching out to a Wilmington special needs planning lawyer can give you a starting place that will leave you feeling confident about your plans.

Avoiding Common Mistakes in Special Needs Planning

It can be emotionally challenging to think about a future in which you are not there to care for your child with special needs, and working through the wide variety of options and their intersecting requirements can be overwhelming. Because of the scope of the task, there are some common mistakes in estate needs planning.

  • Waiting too long to create a plan: Many people make the mistake of worrying that they don’t fully understand what their child will need in the future. Perhaps their child will be able to work independently and not need as much public support. Perhaps their child will have a different living arrangement. The truth is that trying to guess the future is impossible, but you can set up the best possible plan for what you currently know with periodic reviews to update your documents.
  • Assuming a family member or friend will step in: When you’re caring for a child with a lifelong disability, you may receive assurances from family members or friends that they’ll be there for your child after you’ve passed. While these individuals may mean well (and may be part of your special needs planning), failing to get legal documentation set up can create hurdles, delays, and confusion.
  • Not exploring your options: Special needs planning is a unique situation, and there are tools available to make the process work for your family’s needs. Going through each possible option and considering the pros and cons of different arrangements may be time-consuming now, but it will give your child the best possible future.

How Can a Wilmington Special Needs Planning Lawyer Help?

You don’t have to go through this process alone. Having an experienced, caring supplemental needs trust attorney on your side provides you with the chance to ask questions, get answers, and make a plan that will work for your family’s individual needs. Get started today with a consultation.

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Initial Consultation
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Document Delivery

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Frequently (un)asked questions

Who can set up a special needs trust?

Typically, a parent/guardian sets up a trust for their child, but a trust can be set up for the benefit of a disabled person by a third party.

Do we need special needs planning if we have a high income?

Much of special needs planning involves needs-based benefits that may not apply in a high-income situation, but setting up trusts and other financial tools for your child is still an important part of high-net-worth estate planning.

Will I automatically be my disabled child's guardian when they turn 18?

An important part of special needs planning is making sure that your child will be cared for in adulthood, but it’s important to know that the legal process of determining guardianship for an adult can be complicated. You will not necessarily be your child’s guardian unless you have taken the steps to make sure that is legally the case.

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