Twin Falls Special Needs Planning Attorney
If someone in your life has special needs, involving a legal advocate is one of the best things you can do for the peace of mind of your family. Often the need for planning is obvious when we have a child with profound disabilities who needs protection and substantial program assistance. However, there are other special needs planning opportunities that are not as common such as the following scenarios:
- A loved we are planning to leave a bequest to will soon be entering an assisted living facility.
- Our loved one is experiencing progressively worsening cognitive impairments.
- An adult child of ours is permanently disabled, receiving social security disability income and might have to spend his or her inheritance on expensive care costs if the inheritance does not have special need protections.
Compassionate Care from a Trusted Attorney
We handle all areas of Special Needs Law so you’ll have peace of mind no matter what the future holds.
- Guardianships and Conservatorships
- Health Care Directives
- Financial and Medical Powers of Attorney
- Long Term Care (nursing home) and Medicaid Planning
- Special Needs Abuse
We’re with You Every Step of the Way
We’ll learn about your family and your concerns regarding you or your loved one’s future.
Before moving forward or implementing any plan, we make sure your questions have been answered and the plan accurately reflects your wishes.
Once your plan is prepared, we continue to follow up to ensure your loved one is protected and there is a thoughtful plan in place for you and them.
We Understand the Complexities of Special Needs Law So You Don’t Have to
What should I be thinking about before scheduling a special needs planning consultation?
If the special needs person is a child (minor or adult) who is not able to effectively express his or her goals and challenges, be prepared to discuss these points as well as who the likely “supports” (other family members and trusted persons) would be in assisting your child survive and thrive at the point you are no longer alive or able to continue your existing level of support. Selecting and designating “agents” are important matters for discussion, including guardians or members of supported decision-making arrangements, trustees of trusts, and – if applicable -agents under financial and health care powers of attorney.
Planning for Those Who Need it Most
Is special needs planning something that a care-giver parent can safely leave for the next generation to develop?
Unless the special needs person can function with a high level of autonomy – there is often no better person than a caregiver-parent to appreciate and articulate the needs and nuances of a special needs child. Siblings can be helpful in the planning process if they are motivated and are committed to assuming support roles when a parent is no longer able to. While a care-giver parent has cognitive capacity, they should ensure there is a sound plan for a special needs trust.
Are there any particularly challenging aspects to special needs planning?
The manner in which real estate and business holdings are to be liquidated among heirs – including a special needs person – requires careful attention. Also, beneficiary designations in tax-deferred accounts, insurance policies, annuity contracts, and transfer or pay-on-death accounts must be carefully scripted to assure planning goals are met. These are not issues that should stall your planning; they are issues that are taken up in the course of implementing a good plan.
If my special needs child has no assets is there any need for special needs planning?
Your child will want the security of a reliable “team” of supporters – such as agents under powers of attorney if your child has cognitive capacity. If your child does not have significant capacity to designate and direct agents, more formal support may be needed – such as a guardian. Additionally, your child may receive an inheritance from you, siblings, or grandparents. In the case, a “protective arrangement” – such as a special needs trust should be considered so that the inheritance does not create public benefits ineligibility or is otherwise squandered.
What is an ABLE account? And haven’t these accounts substantially eliminated any need for special needs planning?
An ABLE account is a tax-advantaged savings account for individuals with disabilities. ABLE plans are available to individuals who were diagnosed with a disability before age 26, with a condition expected to last at least 12 consecutive months, and who are receiving benefits under SSI or SSDI (or who can obtain a disability certificate from a doctor). Contributions are limited to $15,000 in 2018, but the recent change in tax code now allows individuals who are working to deposit an additional amount up to the current poverty level. One of the most important ABLE benefits is that individuals can save a substantial amount in an ABLE plan without hurting eligibility for government assistance.
Legal Advocates for You and Your Loved Ones
While ABLE accounts are a wonderful tool in the toolbox of special needs planning, they are not designed to receive and appropriately deal with significant inheritances or large lifetime gifts.
Don’t wait until a circumstance arises to enlist a Special Needs lawyer. Protecting a vulnerable child or spouse will provide both of you with peace of mind. We know how overwhelming this can be and want you to feel confident in a plan for the future.
If you need any further legal advice regarding special needs or trusts, contact our special needs planning attorneys.