3 Common Estate Planning Mistakes Special Needs Families Make

There is no question that planning for a special needs child as part of your estate is unique. As such, you may overlook many aspects of your estate plan that will affect your special needs loved one. Below are some of the most common mistakes that you can make, and a few suggestions on how you can avoid them.

  1. You do not adequately fund the plan.

One of the most important aspects of leaving your loved one with assets for his or her future care is that there is enough of it. While this may seem like a no-brainer, funding your plan is sometimes not thought out well and causes serious issues in the future. Take some time to determine exactly how much funds your loved one will need on an annual basis, add a significant buffer, and multiply by the number of years that your loved one is expected to survive you. Be sure to update your plan regularly to account for any life changes that may affect the funds your loved one may need.

You should also be sure that the property that you are leaving your loved one is liquid enough to be used however he or she needs. While it may be helpful to leave your special needs loved one in control of a home, this will do little good if he or she does not have the financial means to maintain it. Life insurance proceeds can be a great asset for this purpose.

  1. You are relying on siblings or other loved ones to care for your special needs child.

Although it may seem harsh, you should never assume that anyone else is going to contribute to the care of your special needs child in the future. While their contributions may be beneficial, it is a mistake to rely entirely on anyone else other than yourself to care for your child.

Other people may not be financially able to help your special needs loved one, or they may also be unwilling to do so. They may also become incapacitated and physically or mentally unable to continue with your loved one’s care.

  1. You have picked the wrong trustee.

The individual that you choose as the trustee for yours loved one’s special needs trust is extremely important. You should think carefully about who would care for your child as if he or she was their own. You should also consider who is likely to take the time and effort to learn about the trust and how to administer it properly.

It is always a good idea to talk to your potential trustee long before you need his or her assistance. For some potential administrators, the possibility of carrying out the task of administering the trust and caring for your loved one on his or her own is overwhelming. Be sure to emphasize that it is okay to get outside help with trust administration.

It is a good idea to work with a professional to develop your estate plan when you have a special needs child. The experienced counsel at Legacy Planning Law Group can help you think through some of these more complicated issues and decide which options will work best for you and your family.

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Written by Legacy Planning Law Group

Legacy Planning Law Group is dedicated to working with individuals and families to help protect the assets they have built throughout their life, and make everything simpler for families who have lost a loved one. We help thoughtful people achieve the peace of mind that comes with planning their personal legacy and passing on family harmony.