Parents who have a child with a disability may be concerned about how to provide for them in their estate. There are a number of strategies available to New York families in this situation.
It is important to assess your disabled child’s capabilities and needs. For example, consider what kind of housing they need. They may be able to live independently, or they might need to live in a group home where they can get more support. Are they able to work? Can they manage their own money? How much supervision do they need in general? The answers to these questions will help shape your plan for them.
Special needs trust
A special needs trust will allow your child access to assets without affecting their ability to get government assistance. You would name a trustee who manages the trust. This can be a friend, family member or a professional. A trust can be used in conjunction with an Achieving a Better Life Experience account for greater autonomy.
Housing and care
Unless you plan to leave your home to your child, it is better to move them into their new housing situation when you are still in a position to help them settle in, provide any support that they may need and see whether it works for them. You may want to choose someone to be your child’s guardian, but if they do not need this level of support, you may want to give someone power of attorney or choose a supported decision-making model.
It can be difficult to think about your child needing to navigate the world without you, but doing so will help you ensure that the tools they need are in place. Once you have a plan, review your estate plan regularly to make sure it is still consistent with what your child needs.