Did you know October is National Special Needs Law Month? While the month of October can provide a national focus on this important area of estate planning and elder law planning, it is a topic we focus on every month of the year in our practice. From ensuring a minor child facing a disability is protected in every potential future circumstance through the parent or grandparents Florida estate planning to providing for an Older American who may need long-term care inside or outside the home, we can provide the guidance you need to protect your disabled loved one.
There are many legal considerations you need to make if you are planning for someone who has a disability. While you may want to avoid this topic due to the difficult conversations it forces you to face, we encourage you not to wait to complete your Florida estate planning. It is important to plan ahead for the long-term future of your loved one with special needs.
Let us share three tips for creating your Florida estate plan when you have a disabled loved one in our blog right here.
1. Plan Forward. When someone with a disability reaches the age of majority, there can be many changes that take place. Did you know that even if the person with the disability is unable to provide for him or herself or can barely function independently, a parent or grandparent no longer has the legal rights to make financial or health care decisions once the child is deemed an adult? Without proper Florida estate planning, even someone with a significant developmental, cognitive or mental health disability is legally permitted to make decisions at the age of majority.
2. Choose the Future Decision Maker(s). The future decision makers you choose will have the legal authority to make decisions for your disabled loved one under your Florida estate plan. Your attorney, with specific expertise in this area, can be particularly helpful for guidance, especially when it comes to choosing decision makers for the person and property of your disabled loved one. For example, she may recommend a special needs trust. This is a Florida estate planning tool that can be set up for people with disabilities to ensure that money will be available throughout his or her lifetime. It can be used for a special needs beneficiary while not interrupting his or her ability to receive public benefits, such as Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income.
3. Create The Care Plan. In addition to your Florida estate planning and choosing the right future decision makers for your disabled loved one, do not make them “go it alone”. Instead, think about what you do as the caregiver for the disabled individual? For years, you have spoken to the school, to banks, financial institutions, doctors, specialists and so many more for your loved one. What did you say? What did you learn? What do you need to do each month, each day? This list, which is the basis of a care plan, can greatly help not only your disabled loved one but any future decision makers.
You and your loved ones deserve the best Florida estate planning possible. The key is to plan ahead both for your loved one and yourself. We want to assist you in getting the planning you need to help you now, and provide for you and your loved ones in the future. To schedule an appointment to start this planning, contact our office today!