Every family has its own unique set of needs and goals with relation to estate planning, and every family needs a plan. But in few cases is the need for doing careful, detailed advance planning greater than with families who have children with special needs. Due to both their needs, and the nature of government assistance benefits, the right kind of planning is essential to maximizing the special-needs child’s long-term well-being.
A recent article in the Green Bay Press Gazette tells the story of several families who have children with special needs. One of these families is the Larsens, who have two sons, Alex and Matthew, who have a rare condition known as Prader-Willi syndrome. Matthew has an average level of functionality for someone with the syndrome, which is typically means an IQ of around 70. Alex is higher functioning.
Fortunately for Alex and Matthew, their parents wisely engaged several aspects of advance planning for their sons. In 2005, the Larsens created wills that include supplemental needs trust provisions. These trusts can be essential for children with special needs. In many situations involving children with special needs, the child receives government assistance benefits from programs which are need-based. These benefits are especially vital for children like Matthew Larsen, who cannot live alone and who, once he leaves his parents’ home, will live in a group home.