Estate Planning & Asset ProtectionBook an Initial Visit
An inheritance for a child with special needs may be a lifeline relied upon to maintain the child’s lifelong standard of care. Yet, owning more than $2,000 can disqualify a person with special needs from important means-based government benefits. If you have a loved one to whom you want to leave assets as part of an inheritance but are concerned about disqualifying them from benefits, consider creating a special needs trust. At Nickerson Law Group, we have helped hundreds of families who have a loved one with a disability.
Ms. Nickerson serves on the Board of Trustees of Marbridge, a nonprofit organization in Austin where 275 adults with intellectual disabilities are given unparalleled opportunities to learn and experience life.
Parents who have a child with special needs often assume that they will automatically continue to be the legal guardian of that child when he or she becomes an adult at age 18 and continue thereafter for the child’s entire life. Although it may be obvious to a parent that their child does not have capacity to make informed decisions, legally an adult is presumed competent unless otherwise deemed incompetent by a legal proceeding.
Legal options exist that protect adults with special needs and allow someone else to make decisions. The most extensive option is a guardianship of the person, which requires filing a court case. Once appointed by a court, a legal guardian is able to make medical, educational, and care decisions for the person with special needs and decide where that person should live.
We are familiar with the guardianship courts and processes in central Texas and can help make this difficult decision as smooth as possible.
There are several types of trusts to assist with these special planning challenges. The most common types are Support Trusts and Special Needs Trusts.
There are two types of Special Needs Trusts:
Special Needs Trusts are a critical component of your estate planning if you have loved ones with disabilities for whom you wish to provide after your passing. Generally, Special Needs Trusts are either stand-alone trusts funded with separate assets (like life insurance) or they can be sub-trusts in existing living trusts.