When it comes to estate planning, a lot of us forget about the special requirements that are needed to plan for those with special needs. It is important to look over the special needs portion of estate planning, especially in terms of weighing whether or not government benefits are better for your loved one or not.
In the past few years there has been an increase in the need for special needs care and planning for estates. In 2006, it was estimated that 22.6 million people were dependent on substances, 4.4 percent suffer from bipolar or similar diseases, 24.9 million suffer from severe mental distress, etc. With this increase in needs, government programs are running out of the well-needed funding and assistance to help these individuals, especially when their loved ones have passed.
Taking a Look at Alternatives
As a parent or loved one of these special needs individuals, you need to start looking at the common concerns surrounding care for the special needs after you are gone, such as:
- Who will care for them after you are gone?
- How much money they will need in order to sustain living?
- Where will your loved one live?
- Who will act as your loved one’s advocate or guardian?
- Will the money you leave to your loved one be enough to take care of them and their special need requirements?
Weighing Government and Private
With the increase in need for special needs programs, you need to evaluate the government programs with your estate planning specialist. Ensure that the funding from government programs is enough or more than what you could provide, but also ensure that your loved one will qualify for the program and receive the right amount of support. If programs do not cover your loved one’s needs, you will need to look into alternatives such as setting up a Trust to help fund his or her care after you are gone.