Providing for a Loved One with Disabilities

Providing for a Loved One with Disabilities

By David Inabinett, Attorney Anyone can become disabled at any time, and when it’s a child or loved one, you can feel like your life has turned upside down. For parents with a child who will need a lifetime of care, I often hear the question, “What will happen when I’m gone?” It’s important to begin planning for your child’s (or other loved one’s) long term care as soon as possible. Update your wills and estate plans to include details regarding your child’s care, naming a person you trust as guardian (note you can name a separate guardian for financial matters or to manage a trust for your child). In August of 2015, the ABLE Act (Achieving a Better Life Experience) was signed into law. This legislation enables individuals with disabilities or families of those with disabilities to create savings accounts to cover their long-term care expenses. In the past, the monies in these accounts counted as assets when determining eligibility for services such as Medicaid. The ABLE Act allows individuals to accumulate up to $100,000 in savings (there are annual contribution caps, too) toward future care without impacting eligibility for government support. While the ABLE Act is a great step forward, long-term care for those with disabilities can be extremely expensive. Individuals and families with the means to provide more should still consider establishing a special needs trust. There are several types of trusts available, depending on how the trust will be funded. A trust set up for a child may differ from that set up for a disabled parent or sibling who owns assets. When set up...
National Special Needs Law Month 2014

National Special Needs Law Month 2014

October of each year has been designated Special Needs Law Month. As estate planning and elder law attorneys, we encourage all adults – no matter their age – to plan ahead. This is especially important when a family has a child or adult dependent with special needs counting on them for care. Planning ahead can ensure your loved one is covered in the event you are no longer there to care for them. A recent statistic from the U.S. Census Bureau reported that of the estimated 53.9 million school age children in the country in 2010, 2.8 million (5.2%) have some form of disability. The study did not include children who were institutionalized. These disabilities range from autism , to emotional issues, to epilepsy, to traumatic brain injury and many others. Whether the disability has existed since birth or is the result of an accident or injury, parents must take action to ensure their child is protected. This is critical when the disability is severe or the child is not expected to be fully able to care for him or herself in the future. Children are not the only potential special needs dependents. As the U.S. population ages, more adult children are caring for their parents. The percentage of individuals with disabilities increases with age. For those 65+, it is estimated that 36.6% have some form of long-term, severe disability. While we don’t like to think about it, there is always a possibility that the younger caregiver will predecease his or her disabled parent. Again, you will want to have taken the necessary steps to ensure quality care continues....
Caring for a Loved One with Special Needs

Caring for a Loved One with Special Needs

The attorneys at Brinkley Walser wish to share this information with anyone who may be caring for a child or parent with special needs, or who may be facing separation and divorce where one spouse is suffering from a disabling condition. Based on U.S. Census figures from 2010, 18.7% of the country’s population exhibited some form of long-term disability. The disabling conditions consisted of sensory disabilities, physical limitations, mental and emotional conditions. The percentage of those disabled increased with age. The study showed 15.4% of those age 15 and older had a severe disability; for those ages 65+, that number was 36.6%. Statistics from a survey conducted by MetLife, Inc. showed that nearly 9% of parents reported of having a child (including adult children) with a “physical, developmental, cognitive, medical or emotional condition. ” According to this survey, the following information bears consideration: 49% are covered by some form of private insurance 41% are covered by Medicaid 8.5% of children with special needs have no form of health insurance coverage Parents spend an average of $326/month on non-covered medical expenses 60% of children with special needs require some type of medical intervention or administration of meds on a daily basis On average, parents of children with special needs spend 24 hours/week caring for their child, with 32% of such parents reporting they spend more than 40 hours/week providing such care 84% of parents with children having special needs have made no provisions for lifetime financial assistance for those children 88% of parents whose children have special needs have not established a special needs trust to maintain public benefits eligibility...