Guardianship of Children With Special Needs

Two good posts coming from Leanna Hamill in Massachusetts and Tredway, Lumsdaine & Doyle in California on planning for children with special needs.  Among the excellent suggestions are the following:

  • Special Needs Trust – allowing parents, grandparents and guardians to provide funds for a special needs child without disrupting eligibility for government aid.
  • Exploring the qualifications of the child’s guardian.  Specifically, are they located close enough to qualified medical personnel?  Can they handle (or are they knowledgeable) about the particularities of caring for your child?
  • Have you left enough financial and other resources to care for the child?  Everything from remodeling a house to make it wheelchair accessible to paying for the guardian to stay home full-time should be considered.

I would add another wrinkle here that I think is too often overlooked.  Many times a child has special education needs that don’t necessarily come to planners or parents when they think about future guardianship.  There are many educational matters that need to be explained or provided for and should factor into estate planning.