Creating wills and other related documents is critical for adults of all ages who own assets in Florida. However, estate planning is especially critical for those who have children with special needs. A major challenge that the parents of these children face is not being able to know for sure the kind of care their children will need. They also do not know what government benefits the children will qualify for upon turning 18.
An estate planning option that may help children who have special needs is a discretionary trust. This is particularly helpful if parents have enough assets to care for their children and thus prefer that they not receive benefits from the government. The parents can simply set aside funds to cover their children's living expenses, placing these funds in the trust.
For parents whose children will likely end up needing benefits from the government, it may behoove them to set up special needs trusts. This type of trust is designed to supplement government benefits, not supplant them. The trust needs to be drafted in such a way that a child who has special needs will not be ineligible for benefits from the government.
It is paramount that parents with a child with special needs review all of their planning choices with their estate planning attorney. During this time, they can discuss the children's health, prognosis and capabilities. The attorney can then create a fitting plan for the child, providing for the maximum level of flexibility possible in Florida.