According to data provided by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), approximately one in eight American children have special needs. Special needs children require specialized planning, especially when parents are setting up their estate. Here, our Ohio estate planning lawyer explains the importance of setting up a power of attorney for a special needs child and provides an overview of the benefits of a special needs trust.
A Power of Attorney Give Parents Legal Authority to Care of Adult Children
As a parent, you have the ability to make decisions on behalf of your children. Among other things, you can enroll them in schools and handle their medical care. When a child becomes an adult, they will generally get the authority to manage their own financial and legal affairs. That being said, special needs children do not always have the capacity to handle some tasks on their own.
A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that grants one person the authority to act on behalf of another person. It is a less restrictive alternative to adult guardianship. For some parents of special needs children, setting up a power of attorney is the most effective way to help them manage their life and handle their affairs. Among other things, you may be able to use power of attorney to:
- Open a bank account.
- Pay bills.
- Handle other financial transactions.
- Sign legal documents.
- Act as an agent.
- Make certain medical decisions.
Special Needs Trust in Ohio: Understanding the Basics
For most parents, their primary heirs, or beneficiaries, are their children. In some cases, a will is a reasonable way to leave property or assets to an adult child. In other circumstances, a revocable living trust or another type of trust may be a better option. However, if you are the parent of a special needs child in Ohio, leaving the money/property directly through a will or a standard trust could be a serious mistake.
By leaving cash or assets directly in the name of a special needs child, you might inadvertently disqualify them from a public support program, such as Medicaid, on financial grounds. Fortunately, there is a solution available. A special needs trust (SNT) is a unique type of qualified trust that parents and other people can use to leave money or property for a loved one with special needs without worry about impairing the eligibility for state or federal benefits.
Get Help From Our Ohio Special Needs Planning Attorney Today
At The Law Office of John C. Grundy, our Cortland, OH estate planning lawyer has the specialized skills and experience to guide parents and families through the special needs planning process. If you have specific questions, we are more than happy to help. Call the Courtland estate planning lawyer at The Law Office of John C. Grundy now for a strictly confidential, free initial case evaluation. From our Cortland law office, we provide estate planning services throughout Northeast Ohio, including in Warren, Youngstown, Niles, and Boardman.