Having a child with a developmental disorder comes with a lot of future planning. Since your bundle of joy was little, you had to think about the “what ifs.” Planning for the future can be tough, but that’s where we can step in and assist with creating a plan. There are many different parts to planning especially additional estate planning and including a trust. Here is some information on what should go into crafting your planning.

Stay Organized

Keep all of your documentation for your child together at all times. There are specific routines you have day to day, doctors, and other important information. It’s best to keep it up to date in the event that something does happen so someone can immediately pick up where you left off. Staying organized also means having specific documentation like trusts, specifically a special needs trust. This document allows the disabled beneficiary to enjoy the property that his or her benefit while also being allowing essential needs-based government benefits.

What Should be in the File?

It is hard to instruct you what exactly needs to be in the file because every child is different but here are some things to think about,

  • Legal documents such as birth certificates, social security cards, medical records, prescriptions, and health insurance cards.
  • A letter of intent as a non-binding document that gives vital information about your child to his or her future caregivers. This can include anything from eating habits, favorite food, activities, and hobbies, sleeping preferences, or anything else that is part of their routines.
  • Health care and financial directives such as power of attorney, living wills, and health care proxies.
  • Major assets and where they are located such as insurance policies, investments, bank accounts, insurance agents, and investment advisors contact information.
  • Guardianship documents if you already created those.
  • Contact information for government agencies or caseworkers that you have worked with.
  • List of government benefits that your child receives along with copies of completed applications.
  • Other documentation for future caregivers, tax returns for child, housing information, educational programs, family photographs, and small mementos.

How to Choose a Trustee

This will be one of the most important decisions you will make for your child. You need to choose someone who you trust to take care of your loved one, but also someone who can be responsible to carry on your wishes.

Role of a Trustee

Whoever you choose will have to not only have ultimate power and responsibility of how trust funds are invested and spent for the beneficiary, but also understand the needs of the beneficiary and your wishes.

  • Not to violate the rules of public benefits program
  • Budget for the long term
  • Invest wisely
  • Keep accurate accounts

When choosing a trustee, it’s often recommended to have a family member and a professional to be co-trustees. The family member will be the one that will carry out the needs of the beneficiary and the professional will oversee all administrative requirements.

We want to be sure you understand everything that is a part of planning the future for your child after you pass. We are shining light on this topic as April is Autism Awareness month, and there is no time like the present to start planning.  If you have any questions or need assistance, please feel free to reach out to me today at the Law Office of Paula A. Smith.