Berman & Asbel, LLP

Protecting Your Child With A Disability

Planning for the future is important for any family, but it becomes even more important when a child has a disability. How can you protect your child today, tomorrow and when you aren't around? With the right help, special needs planning doesn't have to be difficult. Here are some of the legal tools available to you.

Education: Creating An Individualized Education Plan

Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) offer safeguards to students with disabilities. An IEP will spell out how the school will help your child, including all accommodations, and how it will measure your child's progress.

Financial Protection: Special Needs Trust

By setting up a special needs trust (also called a supplemental needs trust), you can provide for your child financially while protecting his eligibility for Medicaid and other government benefits. A trustee manages the trust and uses the trust funds for such things as education, transportation, healthcare and more.

Financial Decision Making: Guardianship Or Power Of Attorney

As your child becomes an adult, the law will presume that she can make decisions on her own. If your child's disability prevents her from handling finances or staying safe or healthy, it might be time to consider a power of attorney or guardianship. Both tools make it possible for someone to make financial and healthcare decisions on your child's behalf. Pennsylvania courts typically favor powers of attorney unless the individual does not have the mental capacity to understand the document they are signing.

Estate Planning For The Future

Creating your own estate plan is also an important step. There are ways to draft your will to protect your child's access to governmental resources when you pass away.

Your child deserves a happy, financially secure life. Work with a lawyer skilled in special needs planning to learn what other options are available to protect him or her.

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