Child Disability

Planning for a Disabled Child

Part of estate planning should include making arrangements for the care and welfare of a disabled child that may need long term or permanent physical, emotional and medical care after you pass away. A guardianship may need to be established for your child should you become ill or mentally incapacitated, and you are no longer able to adequately care for your child. Decisions regarding where the child will reside and who will be responsible for making the day-to-day decisions about the child’s education, medical needs and overall welfare, as well as handling financial matters will need to be addressed.

Guardian of the person and the property

There a just a couple legal formalities that you should be aware of when choosing a guardian. A guardian must be 18 years of age, and a legal residence of the United States. Most of the time, a close family member acts as a guardian. The guardian has the same legal authority as a parent, but has no financial interest in the child’s assets. Choosing the right person or persons to take care of your child should be considered carefully. This may involve sitting down and talking to other close family members to figure who is the most qualified to handle the responsibilities and also taking into consideration other family members’ needs.

So for example, you could give your sister the responsibility of guardian of the physical custody of your child, and designate your CPA or attorney as the guardian of your child’s assets, including financial matters. Or you could designate all responsibilities to your sister, and as a backup, to one of your other adult children should your sister not be able to take on the responsibilities due to age, poor health or logistics.

Legal and Tax Considerations

Since most people are not experts in New York probate and estate laws, they generally will consult with a NY estate attorney to help them with their estate planning needs. Mike St. Pre, a leading NYC estate planning attorney, will be able to sit down with you and discuss a sensible plan for protecting your assets, reducing your estate taxes and making sure that your disabled child’s welfare and needs will be taken care of in the way you want when you are no longer able to do so.

The attorney can prepare the necessary legal documents you will need such as a will and/or a trust and can also handle the transfer of your assets to the trust for the benefit of your beneficiaries, including your disabled child. Assets held in the name of a trust are exempt from probate in New York and can reduce your estate taxes. Also, having a trust makes it easier for your beneficiaries to receive their assets because the assets pass automatically by law to them after your death.

By planning ahead for your disabled child’s needs, you have the peace of mind knowing that your child will be taken care of, and your other family members won’t have to worry about having to make those kinds of decisions. Call St. Pre Law Firm for a complimentary phone consultation today