Julia’s daughter, Jenna, is a happy 17-year old woman. She participates in social activities, attends school, and has a job despite being born with multiple birth defects. While she’s satisfied with the progress Jenna has made, Julie is worried about her future. She wonders if her daughter’s needs can be anticipated and provided for in her estate planning.
Typically, an estate plan consists of a Will, a durable power of attorney, and an advanced health care directive like a health care power of attorney. But complete estate plans address all of the testator’s needs and some people need more than the basics.
Julia can provide for Jenna in her Will. She could also have Jenna’s inheritance transferred to a trust for her benefit.
Parents of a disabled child may have options that ensure their child’s future support.
- Special Needs Trust. This type of trust may calm at least some of Julia’s fears. The trust would be funded with money and assets that a trustee could use for Jenna’s support. However, if the trust is not properly drafted, it could reduce or eliminate Jenna’s eligibility for public benefits like Medicaid.
- Medicaid Income Trust. Also known as a Miller Trust or a Qualified Income Trust, Jenna can transfer some of her monthly income to this trust to remain below Medicaid’s income limits.
- ABLE Account. Julia might consider setting up savings plan called an ABLE account. ABLE stands for Achieving a Better Life Experience. Anyone can contribute to Jenna’s account, and the funds will be used for Jenna’s support.
- Guardianship. Jenna will be considered an adult at age 18, even though she has the mental age of a 10-year old child. If she has not already done so, Julia should talk to an attorney about setting up a guardianship for Jenna. Although disabled people often need to be as independent as possible, they remain vulnerable to people who may take advantage of them.
It can be difficult to find a way to provide for a disabled child’s future while preserving eligibility for public benefits and their own independence.
Consult with an Alabama Estate Planning Attorney.
Another thing Julia could do? Provide a letter of intent for future caregivers that gives instructions for Jenna’s care. While not technically an estate planning document, Julia can keep this letter with her important papers.
The attorneys at Adams & Miller have the experience you need to get the estate plan you and your loved ones deserve. Contact Adams & Miller, P.C. at 256-251-2137 to schedule an appointment or fill out our convenient Contact Form. We help clients in Anniston, Talladega, Birmingham, Gadsden and surrounding communities.