Special Needs and Estate Planning

AnnMichelle G. Hart. Esq.
January 7, 2022

Are you taking care of a child with disabilities? Are you sure about what will happen to your child after your death? 

Hi, I’m Ann Hart, HartLaw PLLC, I’m an estate planning attorney in Washington State. 

For parents who have a child with special needs, planning for their loved one’s life after they are gone can be overwhelming. Let me break it down for you into manageable parts.
There are three main structures a family should put in place to provide future protection for their child: 1) Self Care, 2) Housing, and 3) Money management. 

1 Self-care: You must arrange the services your child will need to live independently or semi-independently. These may be overseen by a court-appointed guardian. It should cover family history, medical care, benefits, daily routines, diet, behavior management, residential arrangements, education, social life, career, religion and end-of-life decisions.
2 Housing: With respect to future housing for the child, location is more important than the house itself. You should think beyond keeping your child in your family home, if that’s where they live now. It’s more important to look at the individual: what interests and supports do they need? Are services your child needs are nearby? State-run programs allow people with disabilities to live in a house or apartment, and the state provides staffing for a group of similar residents.

3 Money Management: You need to begin to build a team for your child — such as a care manager, behavioral therapist, personal attendant care giver, guardian, etc. You need to put a Special Needs Trust in place. The Trust is not just a financial plan, it coordinates available resources, ensures continuation of government benefits, provides supplemental needs for life, improves quality of life, and directs final distributions.

Call me if you’re in Washington State. Let me create the right trust for your situation. This is too complex to do-it-yourself. I’m Ann Hart HartLaw PLLC. Your attorney with heart.