Failing to make an estate plan is a significant error for anyone, even more so when you have a child with special needs. Other people’s children will be able to work and survive regardless of whether their parents leave them anything. Your child may be unable to work and unable to make vital decisions for themself.
Your special needs child will depend on your estate plan
Here are some common errors to watch out for:
- Assuming a standard plan will work for you: Many attorneys can help you make an estate plan. Few have the in-depth knowledge of special needs planning that you need. Your situation is not the same as everyone else’s.
- Not planning for your retirement: You might care more about your child than yourself, but it does not mean you can think only of them when planning. Their entitlement to receive benefits will depend in part on your retirement plan. If you spend everything on them and keep nothing behind for yourself, it could affect you all.
- Not communicating your plan: To avoid your child needlessly worrying when you die, explain your plan to them in advance. It helps you prepare them gradually for the inevitable transition. You can reassure them that someone will always be there to help them, even when you are not. By prewarning them, you reduce the chance someone can step in and take advantage of the situation. It gives them a chance to tell you if they have issues with specific people you intend to take over their care. Ensure you inform the rest of your family, too.
Tax laws and benefits thresholds change regularly. If you have not updated your estate plan since you made it, it may no longer be as effective as you hoped. An effective and up-to-date estate plan is vital for you and your child.