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Estate Planning for Adult Children with Disabilities

DisabledBoy

According to the American Bar Association, medical advancements have and will continue to allow more and more developmentally challenged children to reach adulthood, which brings the question: are parents planning for how their end of life will impact their adult disabled child? Creating a special needs trust is important for parents with both disabled minor children, who will become adults at some point of course, as well as for disabled adult children. Why is this trust different than any other? For children with disabilities, you must consider the difficulties that having a trust fund could bring upon them when applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits and Medicaid. For careful planning and specific information in regards to creating a special needs trust, it is important that you work with an experienced Anne Arundel county estate planning attorney.

Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income Benefits

If your child is left with $2,000 or more in assets, aside from their vehicle or home if they have either, they will not be able to qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). By leaving behind even $5,000 or $10,000 in a will, which will not go a long way in supporting them into the future, you put their ability to receive SSI in jeopardy. Similarly, those who earn more than around $16,000, roughly, are not eligible for Medicaid in Maryland, according to Maryland Health Connection. By putting your assets in a special needs trust, you bypass these maximum income and asset limits because the money is not left directly to your adult child, but to the special needs trust, which a trustee can manage for your child.

Choosing a Trustee to Manage the Trust

By creating a special needs trust, versus a simple will, you leave in place a trusted person to manage the trust, called the trustee. The trustee can make educated and informed decisions on how to distribute the limited funds that are in the trust to your disabled adult child. Typical expenses include costs of food, clothing, shelter, medications, home care, education, and much more. Usually, a family member or close family friend serves as the trustee for an adult child with cognitive disabilities. However, nonprofit organizations can also fill this role, and an attorney can provide you with more information and options.

Call Maryland Estate Planning Attorney Tara K. Frame Today

If you have a child with special needs or an adult child with special needs, the time to start planning for their future without you is now, even if you are still young or middle aged. No one wants to talk about death, but then again no one wants to leave their children with a financial headache or, even worse, impair their ability to receive much needed financial and medical coverage. Contact the compassionate and highly experienced Pasadena attorneys of Frame & Frame at 410-255-0373 today in order to schedule a consultation as soon as possible.

Resources:

americanbar.org/publications/probate_property_magazine_2012/2013/november_december_2013/2013_aba_rpte_pp_v27_6_article_roscher_adult_children_with_disabilities.html

marylandhealthconnection.gov/shop-and-compare/medicaid-basics-and-benefits/

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