Raising a family and planning for its future can be a daunting task even in the best of circumstances. But for those Colorado families faced with the additional challenge of a special needs family member, this task is often magnified. In this case, special needs planning is a critical component of estate planning for the family’s future.
In some instances, the family is aware that their baby will be born with special needs. In other cases, an illness or accident results in a family member developing special needs. Regardless, planning for the family’s future and this member’s future in particular is an important part of estate planning.
There are numerous government resources that may be available to assist the family and the special needs individual. These might include Medicaid, supported living sevices, HCBS waiver programs, SSI, and more.
An integral part of special needs planning often involves use of a special needs trust. These trusts are designed to provide for an individual’s supplemental care (i.e., those things not provided under a public benefit program), while maintaining his or her eligibility for public benefits. Its primary purpose is to perserve inheritances, personal injury settlements and awards, and other assets for use by the special needs individual without disqualifying him or her from eligiblity for public benefits. Funds from the trust can be used for those “extras” which can make the difference between just subsisting and thriving.
There are many other considerations which also need to be addressed by Colorado families with a special needs member, including who will look after their loved one when they are gone, where will their loved one live, how will their expenses be paid. Experienced legal counsel can assist the family in answering these questions and determining which options and resources will best meet their needs.