Special Needs Planning
Planning for someone with a mental or physical disability can be a daunting task, but OC Elder Law is here to guide you through your choices.
If you are planning for your minor child with a disability, there are key points we want to keep in mind:
- Public Benefits- We want to ensure your child does not lose any public benefits they may be receiving when they eventually inherit from you. Many public benefits are called “needs-based” benefits which means they look at your assets to qualify. An inheritance can become an asset and subsequently alter or eliminate your child’s benefits. Benefits that we discuss and plan for are Social Security Disability (SSD/SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medi-Cal or Medicaid, and benefits through the Regional Center.
- Healthcare- We want to ensure that your child has the proper people ensuring their healthcare needs are taken care of when you can no longer do so. Planning for the right person to assist your child’s healthcare needs is critical.
- Finances- We want to ensure your child is financially secure and not solely reliant on public benefits. We can protect your legacy so that your child can have all that you have worked for while also maintaining important public benefits such as SSI and Medi-Cal. We also want to ensure that the right individual is chosen to guard your child’s inheritance so that they can have stability throughout their life.
If you are planning for your adult child, much of what is discussed will apply, however we can project the amount of funds needed to protect your child, determine their workforce capability with better certainty, and determine what benefits they are receiving and evaluate if they are appropriate.
Some adults with mental disabilities may still be able to plan for who makes financial decisions for them if they cannot (Power of Attorney) and who makes medical decisions if they cannot (Healthcare Power of Attorney). There are specific legal tests which we can administer to determine if an adult can effectively plan for their own needs.
However, sometimes an adult is not able to plan for themselves. If this is the case, then a Conservatorship may be necessary. A conservatorship is a court proceeding where a judge determines who should make medical and/or financial decisions for an individual who cannot make decisions for themselves.
Upon talking to you and the individual that needs planning, OC Elder Law can guide you through the best planning opportunity so that the individual is taken care of and maintains a respectable quality of life.