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Lincoln Special Needs Planning Attorney

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Lincoln Special Needs Planning Attorney

Lincoln Special Needs Planning Lawyer

Parents of special needs children bear a tremendous responsibility. They care for some of the most vulnerable among us, and we often find that they do so with the kind of grace and selflessness that most of us could never dream of having. Many of them worry, though, about who will take over that responsibility when they’re gone and no longer able to. Fortunately, through the estate planning process, these parents can have some answers to their concerns and prepare for their child’s future without them. At Stange Law Firm, we help parents of special needs children prepare the legal framework to see that their children have the security that they need when their parents are no longer there to provide it.

Special Needs Planning Concerns

There are a lot of factors that are involved in taking care of a special needs individual in Lincoln, NE. The key to a comprehensive special needs plan is that it needs to address all these factors. To make sure that you’re accounting for everything, it can help to work with an experienced legal team, like the one at Stange Law Firm.

We understand the complexities and importance of estate planning, particularly some of the specialized elements that apply to special needs planning. When you work with us, we can help make sure that you cover every major aspect of your child’s future with your plan. Some of the important considerations for the plan include:

  • Guardianship – If your special needs child requires some level of guardianship or conservatorship, then it’s critical that you make those arrangements part of your plan.
  • Finances – A significant component of planning for your child’s future is their finances. In many cases where the child qualifies for assistance programs, there is a risk that an inheritance may negate their qualification. Part of this planning process could include a special needs trust, which can help preserve their access to those programs.
  • Medical Care – Considering all options for medical care and deciding on what is most appropriate for your child can be a critical component of your plan.
  • Education and Employment – If your child is in school, then including a plan for the next phases of their education can be important. The plan could cover their future employment as well.

Special Needs Trusts

A number of government programs that benefit special needs individuals are means-tested. This means that, if the individuals have a certain level of assets and income, then they will be unable to qualify. Were these individuals to receive a windfall of wealth, such as might come from an inheritance, then they may not qualify for the programs anymore. The law allows for a special means of avoiding losing access to the programs while still being able to receive such an inheritance. A special needs trust, also known as a supplemental needs trust or disability trust, provides that avenue.

The process of creating a trust can seem simple. However, there are often all sorts of requirements that make it legally difficult to set up. It’s critical that you work with a lawyer who understands the complex nature of trusts and the particulars associated with a special needs trust.

Creating a Special Needs Trust

Put simply, the way a trust works is that it is first funded, which can occur through placing assets like cash, investments, insurance proceeds, real estate, and other valuables into the control of the trust. Someone is named trustee of the trust and is largely responsible for dispersing or making use of the assets. They will have to do so according to the rules of the trust. You can also be the trustee yourself until you pass. Then, a successor will take on the role.

There are two kinds of special needs trusts that differ depending on who is funding the trust. If you are funding the trust for your child, that’s a third-party trust. If your child’s own assets are being used to fund the trust, such as funds from winning a legal claim, then it is a first-party trust. In this case, there is a requirement that, upon the beneficiary’s death, the funds must be used to reimburse the state for any Medicaid benefits that were used.

It’s critical that you work with an experienced estate planning lawyer to set up these trusts. While trusts are an extremely valuable estate planning tool, they are also complex to create properly. In the case of special needs trusts, there are many unique requirements that must be met for them to hold up to legal scrutiny. However, if you want to ensure that you are able to preserve your child’s inheritance or personal assets, and their access to public funds to help with their care, then it is a critical tool. At Stange Law Firm, we have extensive experience working with trusts of all kinds, along with every aspect of estate planning. If you are looking to create a comprehensive plan for your special needs child, we can help.

Protect Your Loved One’s Care When You’re Gone

So much about having a special needs child is challenging. Parents will often discuss how rewarding the experience of caring for someone with special needs can be. We know, though, that many parents’ ability to really appreciate the time they have with their special needs child can be limited by their concerns about what’ll happen to their child when they’re gone.

Parents in these circumstances have enough to worry about and focus their attention on. This doesn’t need to be one of those things. Getting together the right plan for your child’s care and finances for when you’re gone can be a tremendous relief for parents. Having that kind of peace means that you can get back to enjoying the rewarding aspects of caring for a special needs child. At Stange Law Firm, we can help you set up a plan that can give you the relief of knowing that your child is going to be okay when you’re gone. Contact us to discuss your situation.

Lancaster County (Lincoln), Nebraska Office (402-204-5002) | 421 S. 9th St., Suite 205, Lincoln, Nebraska 68508

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