Planning for Children with Special Needs

by David Goldfarb

Seniors often have adult children with disabilities who will likely need a personalized and effective plan in place to protect their interests throughout their lives. Our attorneys regularly assist parents in planning for the future for children with special needs and we are confident that we can provide the highest quality of assistance for you and your child.

Estate Planning for Parents

Every parent must consider that they will not always be here to care for their children – and this is a particularly stark reality for parents of children with special needs. You have dedicated your life to caring for your child and providing the help they need, but something may happen at any time that renders you unable to do so. It is essential to have a comprehensive estate plan in place that specifically addresses the needs of your child and ensures their safety and well-being if you become incapacitated or pass away.

The following are only some aspects of a customized plan for parents who have children with special needs in New York:

  • Supplemental Needs Trusts ( also called Special Needs Trusts) – If your child receives an inheritance, the assets and property you left them may render them ineligible for Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Fortunately, there is a legal tool called a Supplemental Needs Trusts allowed under New York law that will hold the assets and property that will then be controlled by a trustee of your designation. This protects your child’s eligibility for important coverage and benefits.
  • Guardianship – New York law provides for a particular type of guardianship for adults who have developmental disabilities. After a child turns 18, it is often prudent to have someone appointed as his or her guardian and have someone appointed as a stand-by guardian, in case something happens to the primary guardian.
  • ABLE Accounts – Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014 or the ABLE Act provides a potential but limited alternative for some people to a Supplemental Needs Trust. This allows people with disabilities to open special accounts where they can save up to $100,000 while maintaining SSI eligibility. Any amount (including earnings) in the ABLE account, any contributions to the ABLE account of the individual, and any distribution for qualified disability expenses are disregarded. For Medicaid coverage it does not matter how much money is accrued in an ABLE account. To be eligible, individuals must have a disabling condition that occurred before age 26 and each person may only open one ABLE account.

When is it Time to Plan for Your Child’s Future?

It is never too early to ensure you have an estate plan in place that properly addresses your child with special needs. The unfortunate truth is that something can happen in an instant that leaves our child without the proper care that they need. Therefore, if you have a child with a disability who requires special care, the time to discuss your estate plan is now.

An attorney at Goldfarb Abrandt & Salzman LLP can provide these services. Contact a New York Special Needs Planning Attorney at our offices for more information today.

For more information about how our estate planning lawyers can assist you in planning for your child’s future, please do not wait to call the law office of Goldfarb Abrandt Salzman & Kutzin. Our legal team is here to help, so please contact us online or at 212-387-8400 today.