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Estate Planning for Parents of Children with Disabilities

 Posted on May 31, 2024 in Estate Planning

DuPage County, IL special needs trust lawyerAs a parent, you want the best for your child, and this desire can be even stronger when you have a child with disabilities. You have been there for them every step of the way, providing love, support, and care. But have you thought about what will happen when you can no longer be there for them? That is where estate planning comes in. An Illinois estate planning lawyer can help you create a plan to give you a sense of ease and reassurance that your child will be taken care of.

The Importance of Estate Planning

Estate planning is essential for all parents, but it becomes even more critical when you have a child with disabilities. A carefully strategized estate plan can:

  • Ensure your child continues to receive the necessary care and support

  • Protect your child’s eligibility for government benefits

  • Provide financial stability for your child’s future

A Special Needs Trust is a Powerful Tool

One of the most effective tools in estate planning for parents of children with disabilities is the special needs trust (SNT). An SNT allows you to set aside funds for your child’s care without jeopardizing his or her eligibility for government benefits like Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

There are two main types of SNTs in Illinois

  • First-party SNTs: Funded with the child’s own assets, such as an inheritance or personal injury settlement

  • Third-party SNTs: Funded with assets from parents, grandparents, or other third parties

When creating an SNT, work closely with an attorney to ensure the trust is properly structured and compliant with state laws.

Choosing the Right Trustee

Selecting the right trustee to manage your child’s SNT is a critical decision. The trustee will manage the trust assets, making distributions for your child’s benefit and ensuring the trust complies with all legal requirements. Consider appointing a professional trustee, such as a bank or trust company, or a trusted family member or friend with the necessary financial and legal knowledge to fulfill this important role.

Guardianship and Alternatives

You must also consider who will make any necessary decisions on your child’s behalf when you can no longer do so. In Illinois, there are several options:

  • Guardianship: A court-appointed guardian can make personal and financial decisions for your child

  • Power of Attorney: You can designate someone to make healthcare and financial decisions for your child without the need for court involvement

  • Supported Decision-Making: This is a less restrictive alternative that allows your child to make decisions with the support of trusted advisors

Work with your estate planning attorney in Illinois to determine the best option for your family’s unique situation.

Keeping Your Estate Plan Up to Date

Review and update your estate plan periodically as your child’s needs and circumstances change over time. Life events, such as changes in your child’s health, financial situation, or living arrangements, may cause updates to their SNT or other aspects of your estate plan.

Schedule regular check-ins with your estate planning attorney to ensure your plan continues to meet your child’s needs and complies with current Illinois laws.

Contact a Wheaton, IL Estate Planning Lawyer

Estate planning for parents of children with disabilities may seem overwhelming, but taking the first step is crucial. Working alongside a Lombard, IL estate planning attorney, you can establish a thorough plan that caters to your child’s future care and financial security, offering you reassurance that your child will be protected even after you are no longer present. Call A. Traub & Associates at 630-426-0196 for a private consultation.

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