Special Needs Planning

Special Needs Estate Planning

Serving Clients in New York City and the New York Metropolitan Area

Special needs is the broad category of requirements and care for individuals suffering from a wide range of physical limitations, medical conditions, intellectual limitations, or emotional problems, including learning difficulties, and behavioral health issues.

What help will the government give us to help financially with our special needs child/adult?

The federal and state governments have numerous benefits that are available to individuals with special needs. These programs vary from state to state, but many also have some type of Medicaid waivers that will cover residential, daycare, career, and other basic services.

Some of these major programs include: (i) Medicaid, which gives basic medical care; (ii) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/Food Stamps) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which provide allowances for food and shelter to people with different or limited abilities; and (iii) Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which helps those with  individuals who hasn’t been able to work for at least a year because of the disability of a physical, medical or mental health condition.

There’s a lot to keep straight. How do we stay organized?

If you have a child (minor or adult) with special needs, it’s critical that you maintain all of your documentation in one safe place that you can access easily when needed.

Experts suggest that parents of children with special needs should have a file or digital folder to keep the information that future caregivers will need to care for the child after the parents have passed away. this is especially true to document the onset of the disabling medical condition.

Make sure that you regularly update the information in the file when there are changes in your family’s situation, changes in the needs or desires of your child, and any other issues that may help future caregivers in caring for your child.

So what exactly should be in my file?

Of course, there is no exact list, but you should include these types of documents and maintain your file with any changes:

  • Important legal documents, such as birth certificates, Social Security cards, medical records, prescriptions, and health insurance cards;
  • A Letter of Intent – a non-binding document that gives vital information about the child with special needs to his or her future caregivers. This can be details like your child’s sleeping preferences, eating habits and favorite foods, activities and hobbies, and other aspects of his or her routine;
  • Directions as to your wishes for final arrangements, e.g., burial services, final resting place, or other details you want carried out;
  • Advance health care and financial directives such as powers of attorney, living wills, and health care proxies;
  • Copies of insurance policies or trusts that may be in effect. (The signed copies or originals may be required to complete property transfers, so also include details about the location of the originals);
  • A list of major assets and information about your insurance policies, investments, bank accounts with policy and account numbers and contact info for brokers, insurance agents, and investment advisors for assets needed for care of special needs individuals;
  • If you have had them created, include the guardianship documents, if activated;
  • The contact information for government agencies or case workers with whom you have worked;
  • A list of government benefits your child may receive, as well as copies of completed applications; and
  • Any other documentation that would assist future caregivers, like tax returns information about housing, educational programs, and family photographs and small mementos.

That’s a lot to cover. Why not let an expert help you? A special needs attorney has the background to make your life a little easier. Make an appointment to visit with an attorney at Grimaldi Yeung Law Group today.