Three years ago you reconnected with your sister who you knew about for the longest time. You begged your birth mother, who you believed was your sister at the time, not to “give away” your little sister. You did not understand the term adoption, but you promised your birth mother that you would take care of the living baby doll who you were only able to see for a day. You were crushed when you parted ways when she was an infant. With the help of a family lawyer you reconnected with this sister just before the holidays three years ago. Today, you cannot imagine ever spending another Christmas away from each other.
Not all families look the same. In fact, some families are so disjointed they do not even know how they look because they have never met before. From mothers who gave up their children for adoption to children who have never known their own father, many people across the country struggle with the fact that they know very little about the people they would like to call family. A generation ago it was not uncommon for families to give up their children with special needs to a home that claimed to offer the best setting. Today, of course, the majority of families keep all of their children in their homes, but it is important in many cases to set up a special needs trust well in advance so that the future is less uncertain.
Differently Abled Children Often Require Specific Kinds of Care and Planning
Today, public schools provide educational settings for children with special needs from birth until age 21. Not all families take advantage of these resources beyond the high school settings, but those that do can find the school a valuable resource. From reminding parents to submit application papers for qualifying for benefits during the second or third year of high school allows families enough time to navigate a system that can seem both complicated and confusing. Fortunately, there are lawyers who specialize in helping parents understand special needs trusts, Medicaid planning, and other important processes.
Estate planning is never easy, but if your planning requires a special needs trust it is especially important to make sure that you have the proper plans in place. Most parents assume that most of their children, once they reach a certain age, will be able to care for themselves. Children with delayed developments, however, may need special consideration. It is at these times when special needs trusts are necessary.
No matter what your family situation, it is important to make sure the you get the help that you need to plan for the future of your family. Consider some fo these facts and figures about the many times when it is in your best interest to meet with an attorney:
- A majority of respondents had difficulty obtaining acceptance of powers of attorney, according to research conducted by a national survey conducted by the Joint Editorial Board for Uniform Trust and Estate Acts. In fact, 63% reported occasional difficulty and 17% reported frequent difficulty, according to the Alabama Uniform Power of Attorney Act.
- Unfortunately, there are few comprehensive statistics tracking power-of-attorney. However, the MetLife Mature Market Institute, which is a research unit of insurer MetLife Inc., in 2009 discovered that the annual financial loss suffered by victims of elder financial abuse, including exploitation of powers of attorney, at $2.6 billion.
- although numbers can vary from one state to another, Medicaid serves slightly more than 1 million of Alabama’s almost 5 million people. This is a state where it may be especially important to have the right legal papers in place to find the resources that are available.
- And while many people avoid end of life decisions, if you are under 40 and do not have a Will, now is the time to do take care of this important task.
- Having a qualified estate attorney draft documents nominating a Health Care Proxy and a Durable Power of Attorney costs an average of $500 to $1,500.
Planning today for tomorrow’s future is always important, especially if you have a special needs child in your family.