Estate Planning Essentials for Special Needs

by: Attorney Noyes

12/20/20232 min read

Estate planning for individuals with special needs requires careful consideration to ensure their long-term care and financial security. At Noyes & Associates, we specialize in creating estate plans that address the unique requirements of special needs individuals. This article guides the critical components of estate planning in these situations.

1. Special Needs Trusts: One of the most critical tools in estate planning for special needs individuals is a special needs trust (SNT). This allows for assets to be managed on behalf of a person with special needs without affecting their eligibility for government assistance programs like Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

2. Choosing a Trustee: Selecting a trustworthy and capable trustee to manage the SNT is essential. The trustee should have a good understanding of the beneficiary's needs and be able to make financial decisions that are in their best interest.

3. Government Benefit Preservation: Proper estate planning ensures that the inheritance doesn't disqualify the individual from receiving government benefits. An SNT allows the individual to continue receiving these benefits while the trust funds can be used for additional care and living expenses.

4. Letter of Intent: A letter of intent is a non-legal document that guides the care and support of the special needs individual. It can include information about daily routines, medical care, preferences, and other personal details crucial for future caregivers.

5. Guardianship Considerations: If the special needs individual is a minor or unable to make decisions independently, it's essential to consider guardianship in your estate plan. This involves legally appointing someone to make decisions on the individual's behalf when you can no longer do so.

6. Financial Planning and Resources: Financial stability is critical in estate planning. This can include life insurance policies, investments, and other financial resources that can be directed to the SNT to provide for the long-term needs of the special needs individual.

At Noyes & Associates, we understand the complexities of estate planning for special needs individuals. Our team is dedicated to creating comprehensive plans that provide peace of mind and ensure the well-being of your loved ones. If you need assistance with estate planning for a special needs family member, contact Noyes & Associates. We're here to help guide you through every step of the process, ensuring that your loved one's needs are met now and in the future.