Even people who have children with special needs often think that they do not need to worry about advanced estate planning tools unless they have a large estate. However, this is a big mistake. Estate planning is just as important for parents with children who have special needs as it is for the extremely wealthy, if not more so.
The costs of taking care of a person with special needs can be astronomical. Autism, for example, is estimated to cost about $33,000 a year for one individual. Government programs will pay for expenses, but the problem with them is that they have very low maximum wealth limits that disqualify many people with special needs from qualifying for assistance. SSI is not available if the person has more than $2,000 in available assets. This means that if parents leave an estate to a special needs child, the child will first have to spend down the estate before SSI will be available.
This problem can be avoided through estate planning. Parents can utilize a special needs trust. It’s a way to leave an inheritance for children with special needs that will not disqualify them from receiving government assistance. Even if you do not have great wealth, if you have a child with special needs, you need to see an estate planning attorney to learn about special needs trusts.