Saturday, August 01, 2009

Special Needs Estate Planning - Gordon Homes

Met Life has programs tailored especially for dependents with special needs. See for more details. Some information will vary from state to state and country to country. But the fundamentals are the same.

Looming question, What happens when you're not around? What do we need to prepare for? Caregiver parents' skills are nearly impossible to replace. We leave big shoes to fill.

Have you made arrangements to leave your special needs child the money they'll need in a trust? Have you identified a care giver? Have you named your special needs child as a beneficiary of any life insurance or retirement funds? The answers to these questions are not the same as with typical dependents.

Make sure you have a will in place. You need to be in control of what happens to your assets. Choose an executor you trust. Specify a guardian for your children. Fulfill any special requests.

Consider creating a trust. Especially in the case of children and special needs dependents.

Be aware that if you leave more than $2,000 to a special needs child, the government will revoke eligibility for more government benefits. Make sure you take maximum advantage of public programs. Otherwise they may not have the care they need.

When turning age 18 special needs patients qualify for Supplemental Security Income, unless they have assets left that are above the Federal Limit. There may be other limits in the states for Medicaid. Most states are $2,000 are less.

Medicaid waivers are administered by the state for healthcare services. They waive the need for the services to be performed in an institution and they waive the requirements regarding income limits. They may be wait listed. Get on the list now and by the time the group policies expire or reach their limits you will likely have coverage under the Medicaid Waivers. This is not regular Medicaid.

Social Security Disability benefits are available if a parent has a triggering event. (Retirement, disability, etc.)

Find an advisor who understands and can assist you with the various services available to you and your family. Look into setting up a special needs trust. Money can be placed here for help and is not counted against the $2,000 limit that gives access to the public programs for health and wellness. Leave money to the special needs trust and not hte special needs child or grandchild.

A letter of intent is a document to pass on information regarding care and help for the special needs dependent. Describe needs of the child and the care they require.

Life insurance is a popular way to fund a special needs trust because they don't go through probate. Again, don't designate the special needs dependent as the beneficiary. Specify the special needs trust instead.

Survivorship life coverage can be helpful. It's inexpensive because there is no payout until the second person covered passes away. A large amount of coverage can be purchased and set up to pay out into the special needs child's trust.

Start the planning effort with an estate planner and financial specialist. It will take both working together to do a complete job.

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