Family matters are complicated, stressful, and generally involve multiple parties of interest making them even more complex. If you have a family member with a disability, you should consider
- Future Social Needs
- Future Living Requirements
- Medical Expenses
- Financial Needs
- Their Rights
You need experience behind you to navigate the care and future of your loved one. Planning now is imperative. A relatively small amount of work and expense now can save a tremendous amount of stress and cost later on.
Disability, Conservatorship, and Power of Attorney
Parents of children with disabilities may be accustomed to handling all of their children’s medical and financial needs, as any parent would. However, issues can arise when the child turns 18, as the law assumes all adults are able to make their own decisions, and the law fails to consider disabled adults who may be unable to make their own decisions. Parents may find themselves in a position where schools, doctors, insurance, and financial institutions will no longer allow the parents to authorize services for their adult child. Plan ahead and know what your rights and situation will allow.
The answer may be to either obtain a power of attorney from the adult child, or seek a conservatorship. Each has advantages and disadvantages, but either can allow the parent to assist their child with his affairs. This will be a major step in planning for your child’s future. It’s imperative that you plan for this change, understand all of the options and take an informed course of action to protect your loved one.
Health Insurance and Social Security
Health insurance can be a major issue for many families, and TennCare (Medicaid) can greatly assist with medical expenses for individuals with disabilities. Often, the easiest way to qualify for TennCare is to qualify for Supplemental Security Income (individuals receiving at least one dollar of SSI automatically qualify for TennCare). In order to qualify for SSI, it may be necessary to limit the amount of assets available to the individual.
A special needs trust can be a very useful tool to set aside money that may only be used to help your adult child, but still allow them to qualify for SSI/Medicaid benefits. We can guide you through this process, and be sure you maximize the benefits that you’ve earned.
Your Last Will & Testament
Finally, your last will and testament may need to be adjusted or rewritten as plans for your future change. If you serve as the conservator for your child (or parent) you can nominate someone to take your place after you’re gone. If your child has a special needs trust, that may also affect your will. Don’t put your family in a position to guess. Having a plan for the future of your family protects everyone involved, and planning for the future without guidance could be devistating to those left behind. Let us help. We’ll take the time to learn about your family situation, and help assure you that all bases are covered.
Call me for help
Powers of attorney, conservatorships, trusts, wills, and other elements (like life insurance) are all tools used to build your estate plan. Call me at (615) 244-1018 for help formulating a plan to protect the future of your family.