North Carolina Estate Planning Blog

October is Special Needs Law Month

Special Needs Law attorneys advise individuals with special needs, disabilities, and their loved ones, on laws concerning their financial comfort and well-being. As National Special Needs Law Month, October is an excellent time to review or implement legal documents such as trusts and powers of attorney and sound financial planning for you and for family members who live with a disability. Meeting with a special needs law attorney will help you create a plan for critical situations you or your loved ones may face as they age with a disability or special need. Guardianship, housing issues, Medicaid benefits, and survivor and pension benefits can all be addressed to give caregivers and disabled individuals peace of mind.

During Special Needs Law Month, parents of children with special needs should revisit their wills and trusts to check that their child has a care plan in place and funds set aside to contribute toward their living and care expenses. Over 1 in 4 of today’s 20-year-olds will develop a disability before they retire, according to the Council of Disability Awareness. Issues with education and care for all stages of life may also arise, and special needs lawyers will help you navigate those as well. 

There are two main types of special needs trusts: “self-settled” and “third party.” Each has its own restrictions, tax liabilities and Medicaid eligibility requirements. Taking time to meet with an attorney during Special Needs Law Month will help you determine which trust is best suited for your needs.
 
Aging Americans with special needs face ever-increasing costs for long-term care. Financing long-term care can cause extreme financial stress on family members. One of the benefits of working with a special needs law attorney is the comfort in knowing that you have done all you can to preserve your assets from the ever-increasing cost of long-term care. 
 
Yet another demographic of seniors is realizing a new retirement: Caring for themselves and their grandchildren. Over the course one decade, the number of grandparents in the United States who are solely responsible for raising their grandchildren has increased by over 300,000, according to the US Census Bureau. For seniors living with a disability while caring for their grandchildren, a special needs attorney can advise on public benefits and programs that you may be eligible for to help cover costs.
 
Take time to review your own or your loved one’s long-term plan this October during Special Needs Law Month. A special needs trust is appropriate to preserve assets for individuals with disabilities, whether young or old. 
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