When a family member has special needs or is disabled, your top concern is ensuring they are always loved, cared for and safe. After all, you cannot always be there to take care of them yourself.
Through estate planning, you can put many concerns to rest, but it is crucial to have a plan that remains effective after you pass away. Below are three questions to ask yourself when addressing special needs in your estate plan.
What documents do you need?
You will want to include your special needs loved one in your will, but there are additional estate planning tools to consider. For example, a living will and advance medical directive help ensure that your family member receives quality health care. Adding one or more trusts that ensure coverage of your loved one’s long-term needs is also wise.
How much time do you have?
Those who are young and healthy with a special needs child might not have immediate concerns, but if you are aging or in poor health, time is critical. If you have not created an estate plan or included arrangements for an adult child with special needs, it is unwise to delay any longer.
Is a letter of intent necessary?
Letters of intent are not legal documents but can add value to estate plans. They often include bits of wisdom accumulated over a lifetime. In the case of a relative with special needs, they empower you to impart insight to caregivers and others.
Every family is different and has unique needs. Knowledge of New Jersey estate planning options can help you make arrangements that preserve your assets and protect your family.