Special Needs Planning

How do I plan for minor children
or those with special needs?

If you have a beneficiary with special needs, it's up to you to ensure that they will continue to receive benefits and the care they need after you pass away. Davidson Law Group estate planning attorneys will guide you through this process.

Ensure the Best Possible Care

In legal terms, special needs is a fairly broad term, including physical and mental disabilities, chronic illness, and even emotional difficulties. Special needs estate planning helps parents and caregivers information about programs that allow their beneficiary to still receive public benefits while also receiving supplemental benefits from your estate. This area of the law requires a great level of expertise to navigate, making Davidson Law Group an invaluable asset to your family while preparing your estate.

Benefits available to those with special needs include:


 General medical care and services.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

Helps individuals with disabilities that have not been capable of working for at least a year due to their disability.

Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP/Food Stamps)

Provides food allowances for people who have disabilities.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Provides shelter allowances for people with disabilities.

Special Needs Trusts

If you are a parent or caretaker of a special needs person and you are leaving assets to him or her through a will or through intestate probate (passing away without a will), the inheritance of the beneficiary can severely jeopardize his or her ability to continue receiving any government benefits after you pass. This is why special needs or supplemental needs trusts are so important because they can preserve a special needs individual’s ability to continue receiving public benefits while allowing them to also receive an inheritance. The inheritance will go into a special needs trust and will be available to supplement his or her government benefits and enhance his or her life. Simply put, a special needs trust is a trust created to hold assets and property of a special needs beneficiary and then distribute supplemental funds while allowing him or her to maintain government benefits.

For parents and caretakers of special needs individuals, it is critical that you remain organized. We highly recommend keeping all of your documents in a secure location that is easily accessible. Ideally, you will have them in a fireproof lockbox or safe. 

As a parent, it is important that you have a plan ready for caretakers who would take on your duties once you pass away. Be diligent in updating information as things change to ensure a smooth transition for your loved ones. 

Your files will vary based on your loved one's needs, but many files will be similar. While this list is not an exhaustive one, it is a good place to start while building your files and documents box. 

  • All important legal documents, including birth certificates, Social Security cards, medical records, prescriptions, and health insurance;
  • Letter of Intent: This document should contain all the information that future caregivers may need. Details of the daily routine for your child and other vital medical advice should be in this document. Include anything you think would be important for a future caregiver to know, including but not limited to favorite foods, eating habits, activities/hobbies, and sleeping preferences;
  • End of life wishes such as final resting place and burial service details;
  • Lists of Various Other Important Aspects of Your Child’s Care:
  • Power of Attorney, Advance Medical Directives, and Guardianship documents;
  • Copies of any Trusts;
  • Information on assets such as bank accounts and insurance policies;
  • Copies of applications for benefits your child receives;
  • Information on any government agencies or caseworkers with whom you’ve dealt;
  • Tax returns for the Special Needs individual;
  • Family photographs or nostalgic mementos;
  • Information about educational and housing programs.

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