The Worst Way to “Help” A Child with Special Needs

Inexperienced attorneys and financial planners have a really bad habit of telling parents of children with special needs that they need to write their child out of their estate plan in order to maintain their child’s eligibility for government benefits. While this tactic would accomplish the goal of preserving government benefits, it is the worst way to help a child with special needs. Both Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid are means-tested programs with very strict income and asset limits. This makes parents concerned about leaving their child an inheritance. Rightfully so! But, writing a child out of an estate plan is not the right solution. While SSI may provide a small cash benefit to your child, it is not nearly enough to support a person with special needs for their lifetime. The added benefit of an inheritance that is placed in a Special Needs Trust can fill the gap and provide a way for them to maintain their quality of life. Further, government…

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