Starting to future plan while your child with special needs is young could produce unexpected benefits. In addition to setting up wills and medical directives for everyone in your immediate family, you should talk to your own parents about their estates. The way they leave their property to your immediate family members could make a big difference for you and your child with special needs.
Why Do Grandparents Matter in Future Planning?
Grandparents of individuals with special needs often have good intentions. They want to leave money to their grandchildren, both to pay for expenses and to help out the parents. While you should applaud them for this generosity and thoughtfulness, you also should sit down with them and talk about their estate plans.
Grandparents often do not realize that giving money directly to grandchildren with special needs can jeopardize their eligibility for government benefits. As a result, the cost of care could skyrocket beyond the family’s means. By setting up their estate plans in the right way, however, they can give to their grandchildren without this adverse effect.
How Should Grandparents Set Up Their Planned Giving?
When you talk to your parents or in-laws about their estate plans, explain the problem with gifts directly to your child with special needs. Tell them that you have (or that you will) set up a special needs trust (SNT) to hold money meant for your child’s care. They can leave money in their wills and trusts to that SNT. Alternatively, the grandparents could set up their own SNT for your child’s benefit.
Money placed in an SNT will not count against your child’s eligibility for government benefits. Grandparents may like the idea of leaving a lump sum to your child’s SNT in their wills, so that it will grow over time and can be used when your child needs it.
Before you talk to your parents or in-laws, make sure your own future planning has started so that you are familiar with the options. Unfortunately, with a child with special needs in the family, the consequences of not planning correctly can be serious.
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.