Securing the future for children with special needs requires careful legal planning and foresight. As disability law attorneys based in New Jersey, we are wholly dedicated to representing clients who are caring for people with special needs.
With this responsibility in mind, we believe it’s important to share these 10 legal tips for securing the future of children with special needs.
1. Understand the legal landscape
Every child with special needs presents their own unique challenges, and the laws surrounding their care can be complex. Legal issues include your own estate plan, decision-making authority for a person at age 18, and maintaining eligibility for benefits.
It’s imperative to choose the right disability law attorneys who have an intimate and experienced understanding of the system.
2. Establish a special needs trust
A special needs trust is designed to support a beneficiary who has a disability without compromising their eligibility for government benefits. Some trusts are funded with the child’s own funds. Others are set up by parents as part of their own estate plan. The goal is the same – set aside funds in a way that protects benefits.
We’re lucky to have our own special needs trust lawyers available who can help ensure that these trusts are established effectively with the child’s best interest at heart.
3. Protect their government benefits
Government benefits, such as Medicaid, SSI, and services through DDD, are a lifeline for many families. Protecting these from potential risks caused by inheritance or receipt of gifts is essential. This is where disability lawyers come into play, devising strategies that ensure these benefits remain uninterrupted.
4. Plan for their long-term care as they age
Proactively planning for the future is imperative. You can create a personalised care plan, and guardianship may be needed. There are legal measures to consider when you care for a child with special needs.
These preparations ensure that children with special needs continue to receive the care they deserve, even as time goes by.
5. Ensure there is medical decision-making authority
As children with special needs age, medical decisions become more and more paramount. If the child lacks capacity as an adult, a guardianship may be needed. If the child has capacity they can sign a directive.
6. Prepare them for the transition to adulthood
Transitioning to adulthood brings about a change in legal rights and responsibilities for children with disabilities. Having disability lawyers to consult can make this transition easier, by trying to make sure that all legal aspects are considered and addressed.
7. Consider your own estate planning
While it’s a topic many shy away from, estate planning is an essential part of ensuring a disabled child’s financial future is secure.
This process is intricate and involves many variables. Consulting with estate planning and real estate transfer lawyers ensures that the estate planning process is comprehensive and tailored, with the child’s long-term needs in mind.
8. Regularly review and update your legal documents
Laws evolve, and so do the needs of children with special needs. Periodic reviews of legal documents is necessary to ensure that they remain relevant and effective. To keep on top of this, working with an elder law firm will offer needed support, so that all documents remain current.
9. Stay legally aware
Awareness is empowering. It’s essential for families to be informed about their legal rights and options. This understanding helps them make informed decisions for their children.
At Fink Rosner Ershow-Levenberg Marinaro, our mission is “to give responsive representation and personal attention with compassion and a commitment to excellence”. We aim to provide families with the knowledge and tools they need to ensure the best future for their children, and we will do everything in our power to succeed in this.
Give your child with special needs the future they deserve
The journey of caring for a child with special needs is filled with both challenges and joy. Securing their future, both financially and legally, provides a foundation for them to thrive.
If you’re looking for guidance or have questions on any of the topics discussed, reach out to our New Jersey attorneys for a comprehensive consultation.
Contact us today — we’re here to help and support you the whole way through.