When you first take over care for an older relative with special needs, you will have a steep learning curve. You will need to figure out everything from benefits to estate planning for your relative. Here are a few places to start.
What Is Your Relative’s Benefits Situation?
One urgent priority when you take over care is figuring out your relative’s benefits situation. Is your relative entitled to benefits that he or she is not currently receiving? How much money comes in each month? Is there a possibility your relative could lose benefits eligibility? These are all questions you should answer early on because the cost of care without benefits can be crippling for families.
Which Services Are Likely Needed in the Future?
As you review medical records and talk to the previous caregiver (if possible), think about which services your relative might need in the future. If he or she has medical issues that might lead to the need for nursing care or hospitalization, plan for these expenses. You probably should put together a comprehensive list or “letter of intent” describing your relative’s needs, so that another caregiver could take over in the future.
Taking over care for a relative should include checking on their and your future planning. Find out if your relative has a will or a trust. Secure powers of attorney so that you can handle financial and medical decisions, or begin the court process to take over adult guardianship. If you or other relatives plan to contribute financially to your relative’s care, you might want to set up a special needs trust (SNT) and possibly an ABLE account.
Further, review your own estate plan and make sure you have plans for a backup caregiver. If you have a medical emergency, your relative will need help too. Your planning should account for this possibility.
Rubin Law is the only law firm in Illinois exclusively limited to providing compassionate special needs legal and future planning to guide our fellow Illinois families of children and adults with intellectual disabilities, developmental disabilities, or mental illness down the road to peace of mind. For more information, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 866-TO-RUBIN.