Having a person in your life who has special needs can mean you have certain important responsibilities you wish to fulfill. Whether you are a parent, guardian, or simply a friend or a relative, you likely want to make life better and provide care for the person who you love in your life who is disabled. Unfortunately, your efforts can sometimes backfire if you don’t know how to make the right plan.
Biddinger, Bitzer & Estelle, PLLC is here to help. We assist parents and guardians in making provisions to ensure their disabled child is always cared for throughout his life. We also provide advice to anyone who wants to give a financial gift of any type to someone who has a disabling condition. To find out more about how our Northern Michigan special needs planning lawyers can help you, give us a call at 989-872-5601. We can provide personalized solutions and answer general questions including:
- Why should parents or guardians of someone who is disabled get help with special needs planning?
- Why should you get help with special needs planning before giving a financial gift to someone who is disabled?
- How can a Northern Michigan Special Needs Planning Lawyer Help You?
Why Should Parents or Guardians of a Disabled Person Get Help with Special Needs Planning?
If you are a parent or a guardian of someone with a disability, you need to make sure that the person who you are caring for can still be protected and provided for if something happens to you. You could face injury or illness at any time that leaves you incapacitated. If this happens, you don’t want the person who you are responsible for to be left in a difficult situation without plans for where to live or who will provide care.
The extent of your planning process will vary based on the amount of support your disabled child or charge needs. If you provide a home and day-to-day care, you must make certain you have found an appropriate living situation in case you can no longer provide one. This may involve finding a group home or residential facility or it may involve talking to siblings and other relatives to ensure that there will be a home available for the person who you are caring for.
You may also wish to ensure that you have provided financially for your child or charge who has a disability. The purchase of a substantial life insurance policy and the use of a trust can allow you to provide enough money to pay for residential care, medical needs, or a lifetime of support – even after you are gone.
Why Get Help With Special Needs Planning Before Giving a Financial Gift to Someone with a Disability?
Whether you are responsible for the daily care of a loved one with special needs or not, you may wish to help enhance your loved one’s quality of life. If you are considering doing this by giving a gift during your life or after your death, you need to be aware of two potential issues.
- The first is that your gift could cause a loss of access to means-tested government benefits because the money or property you give could count as a resource. This means the person who you give a gift to could lose Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, and other important benefits.
- The second is that the person who you give the gift to may not be able to manage or use money or properly or effectively.
You can solve both of these issues with the creation of a special needs trust. A special needs trust is a type of trust that allows you to name someone who will act as trustee to manage property for a disabled beneficiary. The assets which are held in the trust won’t count for purposes of determining eligibility for means-tested benefits.
The trustee can use the assets in the trust to provide a better life for the person with the disability, following your instructions carefully in order to do so. If you wish, the assets remaining in the trust can then be left to another heir when the person who is disabled passes away.
What can a Northern Michigan Special Needs Planning Lawyer Do For You?
Creating a special needs plan can be complicated, but we are here to help. Biddinger, Bitzer & Estelle, PLLC assists with the planning process to clients throughout Cass City, Bad Axe, Caro, Deckerville, Reese, and surrounding areas throughout Michigan. Give us a call today at 989-872-5601 or contact us online to learn more about how we can help you.