Planning for Special Needs Children | Estate Plan Pros

Parents of disabled children face a lot of struggles. Often providing ongoing care for a disabled child is overwhelming, involving various doctors and other care providers, not to mention working with teachers and therapists, and IEP meetings and more. And somewhere back in the parents mind is the thought – who will do what I’m doing when I’m gone? Wonder no more when you create a Special Needs Trust.

Government Benefits Eligibility

An adult with a disability is probably receiving critical assistance from a variety of government programs, including SSI and Medicaid (Medi-Cal here in California). If a disabled child received more than $2,000 in an inheritance, he or she would be disqualified from further assistance until their resources got below $2,000 again, at which point they would have to reapply. In order to avoid disqualifying a child from SSI and Medicaid benefits, a Special Needs Trust is created. This gives the disabled child their inheritance, allowing that money to provide for things not otherwise covered. The trust is set up to provide these benefits, and puts the person you choose in charge of managing the money for the child’s benefit.

Decision Making – It Can Be A Team

After taking care of protecting the eligibility for needed benefits, the next question is who will control the money? Who will provide the care and support the child needs? The reality is that for most special needs individuals, there is an involved team supporting them and providing the resources they need. What the team needs is a quarterback, and what the quarterback needs is a team. To set your successor trustee up for success, he or she will need to know who is on the team, and what they’re bringing to the table. Creating a trust for a special needs child requires a plan that complies with complex federal and state laws. You’ll want to work with an experienced attorney to guide you through the process. When completed, the Special Needs Trust will provide for vastly superior care options and opportunities for treatment and rehabilitation, housing, electronic equipment, computers, job training, vacations and more. Image courtesy of njaj at

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Erik Hartstrom

Erik is the founder of Estate Plan Pros, a leading estate planning practice in Elk Grove.  Erik’s practice focuses on Estate Planning Law. In Estate Planning, Erik works with clients to make the process simple, so clients can focus on more important things. He is a local authority for specialized estate planning instruments, like Special Needs Trust, Irrevocable Trusts, or other focused documents. Erik has litigated, negotiated, and mediated the gamut of family law cases. With this unique perspective as a family law and estate attorney he can often spot issues otherwise overlooked. Prior to graduating he worked as a legislative analyst for a non-profit organization, and volunteered as a youth counselor. Erik currently participates in local politics and is an active member of his local church. Erik is very happily married and has two young sons. Together, his family loves to get outdoors and enjoy the varied activities the Sacramento region has to offer.

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