There are numerous care options available for an adult with special needs. The options available range from independent living services to advanced medical care. It is important to match the person’s needs and desires with the best possible living option or combination of options.
Estate planning requires specialized planning when you have a child with special needs. Looking to the future as to how your child will be able to function in the world as they age is particularly tricky to assess. What is the child’s long term prognosis and what type of care is anticipated to meet their needs? What kinds of medical breakthroughs may occur that change their playing field? What government programs will they be eligible when they turn 18 and are those programs likely to still be in place when they need them? How will the parameters of the estate plan change when a child turns 18 and may want (and be legally able) to make some decisions on their own?
When a family has a child with special needs, the care of that child eventually falls on the shoulders of the entire family. The parents generally care for the child for as long as they are able. However, when the parents begin to age and are unable to care for their adult children with special needs, the siblings are often called upon to take over care of their special needs sibling. This brings extra responsibility and stress – financially and emotionally – and can impact the schedule of the caregiving sibling. Siblings who are charged with the responsibility of a special needs adult must begin planning for how they are going to manage this situation.
It is a daunting proposition for the parents or guardians who desire to set up the best plan possible for their special needs child. Are they able to express their needs and wants regarding their care? Most state laws mandate the fiduciary in charge of a special needs child’s care allow their participation in the process as much as they are able. To what degree can they adequately manage activities of daily living like eating, bathing, and dressing by themselves? Is the child deemed capable in the future of being employed outside of the home? Can they ride a bus to work? Is outside care such as an assisted living facility likely? Is the family capable of providing income and assets for their future well-being?
If you need help with your special needs planning, please feel free to contact us for a complimentary consultation.