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Estate planning for families with special needs children

Parents of special needs children are often accustomed to planning for future events. Some of these might include planning school schedules and events or family vacations and outings, but not all people know how to plan for their children's care after their deaths. Estate planning can be confusing, as many New Jersey residents may already be aware, and even more so when there are special circumstances involved. There are, however, several tips that can help parents to plan for their children's future care. 

Naming an individual to act as the child's guardian is one of many steps that can be taken to ensure that he or she is taken care of. However, the guardian may still have a number of questions, even if he or she knows the child. A letter of intent can help to answer many of those questions regarding the child's everyday care. The letter might include information on schedules, routines, doctor and medication information, as well as any personal information or wishes that the parent wishes the guardian to be aware of. 

There are also a number of things that a parent can do to ensure that the child's financial needs are taken care of as well. Some might choose to open a special needs trust. This account can help the person it was opened for to pay for everyday expenses, like bills, without preventing them from benefiting from other government programs. However, the beneficiary usually cannot have assets valued beyond a certain amount. 

These are only a few of the ways that parents can plan for their special needs child's future care. New Jersey residents who wish to know more about estate planning may want to speak with an attorney. A lawyer would be able to help his or her client understand all of the planning options available and which ones may be most beneficial. 

Source:, "Tips for Families Who Have Children with Special Needs", April 4, 2018

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