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Estate Planning for Children with Disabilities

Daryll Pomey Orat - Sunday, March 02, 2014

Estate planning is critical in all circumstances. When you have children who are exceptional, estate planning is even more vital. If you have children who are disabled, then there is no more convincing reason for the need for a proper estate plan.

Children in any situation where a parent dies without leaving a will can face an uncertain future. However, when children are disabled, or suffer from any sort of physical, mental, emotional or behavioral disability, the uncertainty can be magnified.

Estate planning for a situation that involves disabled children includes complete awareness of all the benefits and programs that may be applicable to your child. There are several federal programs, including Social Security Supplemental Income that apply to children who have limited access to resources. But you don't have to be from a lower social economic background to be eligible for Social Security Supplemental Income or Medicaid. Even people from well-off families, in some circumstances, can be eligible for Social Security Supplemental Income and Medicaid.

If your child has some disability that requires him to have special education, then you must factor in the fact that such special education can be expensive. In the case of some mental or emotional disabilities, special education of the highest quality can actually equal university tuition expenses. It's very important that your estate planning factor in these needs.

Your attorney and you must discuss how your child's needs will modify as he transitions into adulthood, and how your plan must reflect his changing needs. The plan must take into account the financial challenges that he will undoubtedly face as he attempts to live on his own, gain independence, and accomplish all of the above without the financial support of his parents.


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