Websters Dictionary defines the term “Legacy” as: 1) a gift by will especially of money or other personal property, or 2) something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past. As an estate planning attorney, I see the term “legacy” most often associated with the transfer of money or some item of real or perceived worth. While that most certainly is an appropriate use of the term under the first definition above, it’s a use that greatly diminishes what a legacy can and perhaps should be.
For families with a special needs dependent child or adult, few things in life are “normal” or “routine.” And when it comes to estate planning for these families, the rule stays the same.
Assure Estate Planning focuses on providing estate planning for individuals and families of special needs children and adults. Often the keystone of planning for those individuals and families is the Special Needs Trust (SNT), in some circumstances (described below) known as the Supplemental Needs Trust.
One of the most rewarding aspects of being special needs estate planners is the opportunity we have to work with professionals from other disciplines in order to help those families of special needs children and adults. From insurance professionals, financials planners, accountants or clinicians and therapists, special needs planning allows us to work with people who are as dedicated as we are to helping families deal with their very unique, very special circumstances and challenges.
You’ve been putting it off for some time now, but you finally took the step and hired an attorney to prepare your estate plan and estate planning documents. Whew! Now you can sit back and relax knowing that your family will be taken care of should something happen to you, right? Well, not exactly.
As an estate planning lawyer who focuses a large part of my practice on estate planning for special needs children and adults, and as the mother of a son with autism, it never ceases to impress me the number of caretakers, therapists, clinicians and other professionals who dedicate their time, energy and expertise to help special needs children (and their families) face the myriad of challenges they will face throughout their lives.
For many couples, the most difficult part of planning their estate is deciding who will be responsible for their minor children if something should happen to both spouses at the same time. Even under the most amenable of circumstances, selecting a guardian for your children can be an emotionally exhaustive process.
I never thought that I would have a son with Autism, but I do. It has given me new perspective and more compassion for those children, adults and families that are struggling with this and other mental disabilities.