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Estate planning for special needs children especially important

Many residents of Florida know that having an estate plan is an important part of making certain that one's loved ones are taken care of in the event one is no longer able to do so. Often, the people most at risk are those that are especially vulnerable and unable to care for themselves, such as very young children or children with special needs.

The parents of special needs kids are already acutely aware of the immense amount of time, money, energy and love it takes to protect such children, and ensure they are able to flourish to the best extent possible. Because of this, it can be frightening to confront the fact that someday, a parent may not be there to take care of these children. However, it is precisely because they need extra care that having a solid estate plan is especially important for people who care for others with special needs.

There are several factors that should be taken into consideration when deciding how to plan for the future of these children. First, it is imperative that one realistically evaluate the kind of care that will be necessary if a current caretaker is no longer around. The type and intensity of care needed will, in large part, determine the amount of financial resources that will be necessary. In this vein, one should be certain to do everything possible to learn about potential sources of public benefits, and what the requirements are to receive them. It is possible that receiving a large sum of assets at one time will disqualify otherwise eligible people for such benefits.

For this reason, it may be a good idea to set up a special needs trust. In many cases, the assets in these trusts are not considered when determining eligibility for benefits, so they can help ensure a good financial base for the special needs individual. It is also important to consider very carefully who to appoint as guardian for anyone who will be unable to be self-sufficient.

In any case, ensuring that every legal ramification is considered, and all trust and other documents are properly prepared and executed is of paramount concern. The last thing a special needs person should have to deal with is the stress of legal proceedings after the death of a loving care-giver.

Source:, "Plan for the future care of your special needs child -- the right way," Elise Rodriguez, Dec. 20, 2013

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