Many clients have asked what they can do for their children or grandchildren with special needs, to ensure they are taken care in the event of an emergency. There are several options which I have outlined:

  1. Buy enough life insurance.A parent or grandparent is irreplaceable, but someone will have to fill in if the worst happens. It may be siblings or other relatives. In all likelihood, that family will have to pay for at least some services the parent or parents had provided when able. If the estate is not large enough for this purpose, it can be made large enough through life insurance proceeds.
  2. Set up a trust. Any funds left for a child with special needs, whether from an estate or the proceeds of a life insurance policy, should be held in trust for his or her benefit. The best approach is a trust fund set aside for the child with special needs.
  3. Create a will and appoint a guardian. While a will and the appointment of a guardian is important for anyone with minor children, it is doubly so if the child has special needs. Finding the right guardian can be difficult. In some cases, the care needs of the child may be so demanding that he or she will need a different guardian from his or her siblings. The parents need to make these determinations while they can. The will is the vehicle for the appointment of a guardian.
  4. Write down the care plan.All parents caring for children with special needs are advised to write down what any successor caregiver would need to know about the child and what the parent’s wishes are for his or her care.
  5. Coordinate with other family members.Even a carefully developed plan can be sabotaged by a well-meaning relative who leaves money directly to the child with a special need. If a trust is created for the benefit of the child, grandparents and other family members should be told about it so that they can direct any bequest they may like to leave to that child through the trust.

Ensuring that your special needs child or grandchild is adequately protected and cared for is a priority. Using these methods of protection will give you that.

Be Educated! Be Proactive!