Special Needs Planning: When Should I Re-Evaluate My Plan?
THE PREREQUISITE: If you don’t have a plan to set up a special needs trust yet, then your timeline just kicked off — because now you know you need to take the first step toward planning for your loved one with a disability. If you’re feeling uncertain, skeptical or just plain overwhelmed, download my eBook – it will get you started on the basics and empower you with valuable information, including what to do next. I’m always excited to tell my clients that we have a lot of great tools at our disposal to help come up with a plan that is going to give you a lot of peace about many of the questions that can keep you up at night.
Update your special needs trust periodically
PLAN MAINTENANCE: If you have already created an estate plan that includes a special needs trust to provide for your child (or loved one) living with a disability, then you are on the right track! To stay on the right track, it’s important that you keep your plan up-to-date.
Here some times when you’ll want to re-evaluate your special needs trust:
- If your loved one has any change in diagnosis that is going to mean a change in care, therapy, benefits, or residential requirements, then you’ll need to consider whether your plan will need adjustments to continue to be effective in carrying out your goals. In addition, you’ll want to evaluate your plans for funding your special needs trust in case the financial requirements for your desired standard of care are impacted by the changes.
- When your child is nearing 18, you’ll want to start thinking about whether a guardianship is going to be appropriate. Sometimes the answer to that question is clear, but many times it is not. Begin having conversations with the healthcare, educational and legal professionals that have been involved in caring and planning for your child or loved one. If it is determined that a guardianship should be pursued, then your attorney can help you through that process.
- If any of the individuals selected for important roles (i.e. guardian, trustee) in your current plan become unavailable or undesirable for any reason, you can select new individuals and have your plan amended accordingly.
- If 5 years have passed, it’s always a good time to consult with your attorney and be sure that your entire estate plan is current for your goals and for any changes that may have occurred in the law.
A plan that starts off strong, stays strong with proper maintenance. Is it time to take a fresh look?