Making sure that a special needs son or daughter has the support they need to meet challenges now and in the future is a profound responsibility. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to address issues such as financial support and personal care now and in the future. At Donald R. Fuller, Jr., PLLC in Hickory, I am a special needs planning attorney who develops individualized strategies so parents can help their children in the present and after they’ve departed.
An experienced North Carolina estate planning attorney can examine your situation and advise how you and your child can benefit from developing a comprehensive strategy ahead of time. With effective special needs planning, you can:
Your child deserves a safe, healthy life no matter what happens to you in the future. I can develop a plan that will put your mind at ease.
Parents of special needs children understand that getting a satisfactory education for their son or daughter requires extra effort and persistence. Preschoolers might require early intervention while parents of school-age children frequently have difficulty obtaining the individualized education plan (IEP) or out-of-district placement that best suits their child. If your son or daughter is part of a special education program or already has an IEP, you should designate someone you trust to handle school matters if you are gone. You might also wish to create a financial instrument to fund your child’s education.
Developing a comprehensive life care plan can give you the security of knowing that a strong support system is in place for the time when you can no longer assist your special needs son or daughter. You might be able to establish a trust that provides for your child’s financial needs while maintaining their eligibility for government benefits. If you’re concerned about medical decisions, our firm can also assist with using legal instruments that give a trusted individual the authority to handle healthcare matters for your son or daughter.
A special needs trust is often the cornerstone of an effective overall strategy for parents concerned about a son or daughter who cannot take care of themselves. Funding might come from a personal injury settlement the beneficiary received or a gift from parents or other relatives. Loved ones may pool their assets in order to create the principal of the trust, which could grow through interest and investment. Appointing the right trustee and setting forth clear terms about how trust assets should be spent will give you peace of mind as you look toward the future.
Families may want to consider guardianship and conservatorship when deciding what is best for someone with special needs. All parents should draft a document detailing whom they want to serve as the guardian for their minor child. This is particularly true when a child requires extraordinary medical and/or personal care. If your son or daughter is an adult, creating a legal conservatorship could be a suitable option. In this process, a capable adult petitions the court for the legal authority to act on someone else’s behalf.
Donald R. Fuller, Jr., PLLC in Hickory advises North Carolina clients on various ways to support special needs sons and daughters. To schedule a consultation at my Hickory office, please call 828-639-8188 or contact me online.