How to Plan for a Loved One with Down Syndrome

Estate planning is critical for all of us. It is even more critical, however, if you have a loved one with Down syndrome. When you have a loved one with Down syndrome it can result in both mental and physical challenges for this individual. While there are similarities in the diagnosis for impacted individuals often each person has different strengths and weaknesses.

You have most likely served in the roles of both advocate and caregiver for your loved one with Down syndrome. In these two capacities, and more, you have most likely been in charge of many daily tasks including, but not limited to, the following:

• Personal caregiving
• Advocating and ensuring their rights are protected
• Ensuring they have access to education
• Obtaining government benefits
• Finding doctors and specialists
• Managing prescription medications
• Maintaining a stable home environment
• Helping them interact with both family members and the outside world
• Protecting them from harm
• Ensuring they are not take advantage of

With so much responsibility on your plate for your loved one, contemplating a time when you are no longer here to provide for them can be terrifying.

This is where estate planning can come into play and ensure that your loved one is protected should there come a time when you are no longer here to care for him or her. Through a comprehensive estate plan you can choose who your successor is for your loved one’s person as well as planning for his or her financial stability. When you plan forward with an estate planning attorney experienced in this area, you can work together to create a care team that can act in your place when you are no longer here.

When you work with an attorney to create your estate plan for a loved one with Down syndrome, you will most likely be creating a plan that includes special needs planning. Estate planning in this area can include:

• A special needs trust
• Making choices regarding future healthcare decision makers
• Planning for their financial security
• Transition plans to ensure someone can access government benefits

You will also want to consider making a detailed list of instructions on just what it is you do. Many loved ones of family members with Down syndrome have fought significant battles for years and they know both what to do and what not to do when it comes to caring for their loved one. It is important for you to provide instructions for future advocates so they are not at risk of not knowing what to do in specific situations.

Your estate planning attorney has the experience to talk to you about what it means to create a special needs trust for your loved one with Down syndrome. You want to share your concerns with your attorney as well as what your goals for the future are.

We know this can be a difficult future to plan for and are here to help you. We believe in a collaborative approach to helping our clients. This means that our assistance does not end with just legal help. We work closely with other senior providers to make sure all our clients’ needs are taken care of from start to finish. Our mission is to make sure every family feels that they have been taken care of, have peace of mind and have someone to lean on during difficult times.

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