Special Needs Planning

How will my family know the kind of life that I want for my child?

With a Letter of Intent, you can carefully craft for your family, for your child’s guardian, for your adult child’s guardian, Trustee, or any Fiduciary, a vision of the future where the possibilities for your child with a disability are endless.

There are over 200 college programs for students with disabilities. Not only are advocacy, planning, and preparation required, but also creativity, joy, and a zest for life, that will guide your Fiduciaries to make the right decisions when it comes to your child throughout your child’s lifetime. Your Letter of Intent is a way to tell your Fiduciaries what you want for your child long after you are gone. You can prepare a Letter of Intent for your typical children too.

Start small. Get someone through a weekend of taking care of your child. Expand on that to a week, a month, a year. Update the letter.

What makes sense when your child is five will not make sense when your child is twenty-five or forty-five. Planning takes the guess work out, so your fiduciaries have a road map as they navigate through these uncharted waters. Ensure your loved one has the opportunity for amazing experiences, including secondary education, meaningful employment, and independent living.

Who are the Fiduciaries?

Depending on the particular planning tools used, there may be a Trustee of a Trust, a Trust Protector of a Trust, a Guardian of the estate and/or the person, a Representative Payee for Social Security, and an Executor.

You may have many fiduciaries or just one fiduciary in multiple roles, depending on the circumstances.


How do I start?

Start with the Letter of Intent.

Discuss your child’s wants, needs, desires, and talk about what life will look like for your child.

Identify the steps necessary in order for your child to have the opportunities for education, employment, independent living, and interdependence with the community.

What assets do I anticipate leaving to my child?

Determine what your assets are, which are probate v. non-probate, and check beneficiary designations on your assets.

You want to avoid a situation where your entire estate plan is frustrated because your beneficiary designations left your assets to your child outright. A situation like that could have unintended consequences for your child including the loss of government benefits.

Are there certain assets that are better to leave to my child with a disability v. my typical child?  All assets are not created equally. Identify the steps necessary in order for your child to have the opportunities for education, employment, independent living, and interdependence with the community.

What else should be included in my estate plan?

In addition to your Power of Attorney, Living Will and Advanced Health Care Directive, Funeral Agent Designation, and Last Will and Testament, your estate plan may include a:

  • Minor’s Trust;
  • Special Needs or Supplemental Needs Trust;
  • Credit Shelter Trust;
  • Family Trust;
  • or an ILIT Trust, to name a few.

Here at Bercik Law we can help you determine the right plan for your family.

Bercik Law combines decades of experience with a wide range of estate planning and litigation matters, including will contests, breach of fiduciary duties, contested administrations, accountings and guardianship disputes.

Involved in a dispute? Please tell us more, we are here to listen…

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