Anyone who has a special needs loved one in their life knows how important proper care and compassion is. Finding the right people, doctor, or facility to help care for your loved one likely took a considerable amount of time. Finding a way to afford the care your loved one needs probably also took a significant amount of time. If you do not also take the time to create a comprehensive estate plan with your special needs loved one in mind, everything you have accomplished with respect to the care of your loved one can fall apart overnight.
Many government assistance programs for special needs individuals are based on the financial resources of the special needs individual and/or his or her caregiver. If you leave money or assets to your loved one directly under the terms of a Last Will and Testament, you can disqualify him or her for many of the much needed assistance programs. Worse, much of the money you leave to your loved one could be taken by creditors or used to pay back Medicaid, meaning your loved one will never even benefit from the gift.
If you fail to even execute a Will, the situation could be worse still. The state will then decide what happens to your assets which could leave your special needs loved one with nothing. In addition, a court will have to decide who will be appointed as the guardian and/or conservator for your loved one.
Take the time now to talk to your estate planning attorney about the best way to protect your special needs loved one in the event of your death.