Hyden, Miron & Foster, PLLC Law Blog

Monday, September 17, 2018

Seven Things You Should Know About Planning for a Special Needs Family Member

If you have a special needs family member, it is essential that you take steps to provide for your loved one while you are still able to do so. You need to have a plan in place that ensures the smooth transition of care for your loved one if you are no longer able to provide that care. In addition, you also need to ensure that your loved one has the financial means to provide for his or her care and needs. Below are seven key things that our Arkansas special needs planning lawyers believe you need to be aware of when you consider special needs planning for your loved one.

Seven Tips for Special Needs Planning in Arkansas

1. Procrastinating Can Be Devastating for Your Loved One

Estate planning is important for everyone. However, if you have a special needs family member, procrastinating can be devastating for your family member. You do not know when you could die or become incapacitated. Without a comprehensive estate plan that includes special needs planning, your loved one could be at the mercy of the court to appoint a guardian and conservator to manage finances and personal care.

2. Develop a Special Needs Trust

Part of your special needs planning includes ensuring that your family member has sufficient income and assets without jeopardizing government programs such as Social Security and Medicaid that your loved one may need. A Special Needs Trust may involve a General Support Trust or a Supplemental Care Trust. You need to discuss each type of trust with your Arkansas special needs planning lawyer. In some cases, a General Support Trust could jeopardize government benefits. Therefore, you need an experienced attorney to help you structure and fund the Special Needs Trust to ensure it meets your goals and the needs of your family member.

3. Invite Other Family Members to Contribute to the Trust

By creating a Special Needs Trust, grandparents, siblings, and other family members can name the trust as a beneficiary of their estate. However, relying on siblings or other family members to provide for a special needs family member can have adverse consequences for the person. While you can invite other family members to help fund the trust, you should not assume that you need to fully fund the trust to ensure that your loved one has the income needed for support after you are no longer capable of providing that support.

4. Coordinate Special Needs Planning with Other Estate Planning and Retirement Planning

Your special needs plan should be formed in conjunction with a comprehensive estate plan. Failing to consider how elements of one plan impact the other plan can create huge problems for your heirs, administrators, and trustees. An experienced attorney who handles both plans can coordinate the plans to minimize the chance of issues or problems arising between the plans.

5. Include a Letter of Instruction

Do not forget to include a letter of instruction with your special needs plan and/or trust. A Special Needs Trust provides for the care and needs of your loved one; however, it does not provide the essential details that can help another person provide the care and comfort your special needs family member requires. A letter of instruction can include details about a family member’s daily routine, likes, interests, dislikes, and functional abilities to make it easier for another person to step into the role of caregiver.

6. Review Your Special Needs Plan Periodically

Just as you should review your estate plan periodically, you should also review a special needs plan periodically. You need to make sure that your plan continues to comply with rules and laws related to special needs planning. For instance, the Social Security Administration can change its rules and regulations for various programs. Your Arkansas special needs planning lawyer can help ensure that your special needs plan complies with current laws and regulations.

7. Work with an Arkansas Special Needs Planning Lawyer

When you are developing your estate plan, work with an Arkansas special needs planning lawyer who can help you ensure that all documents are in place to provide for and protect your loved one after your death or in the event you become incapacitated. You can also discuss all options for special needs planning, including the pros and cons of each choice, so that you can to choose the best option for your family.

Call today to set up an appointment with an Arkansas retirement plan attorney at Hyden, Miron & Foster, PLLC. You and an Arkansas estate planning lawyer can discuss the steps you should take to protect your special needs family member.

Archived Posts


© 2022 Hyden, Miron & Foster, PLLC | Disclaimer
About | Attorneys | Client Forms | Resources | Practice Areas | News


Law Firm Website Design by
Zola Creative

901 N. University Avenue, Little Rock, AR 72207 | Phone: 501.482.1787 | 557 Locust Avenue, Conway, AR 72034 | Phone: 501.482.1787
3880 N. Highway 7, Hot Springs Village, AR 71909 | Phone: 501.482.1787 | 721 S Main Street Stuttgart, AR 72160 | Phone: 870.673.0083