Preliminary Dos and Don’ts for Special Needs Planning in Santa Clara County

Special needs planning in Santa Clara County can be daunting if you’re just starting. However, a Santa Clara County special needs lawyer can save you the headache of planning and the worry over whether your plan will be executed properly. If you’re new to special needs planning and aren’t sure where to start, check out these dos and don’ts for starting estate planning for your child with disabilities.

DO consult a Santa Clara County special needs lawyer. Estate planning can be complex and downright overwhelming. What seems like a small error or omission can cause your plans to be executed in a different manner than you intended, or not at all. A special needs lawyer in Santa Clara County understands both estate planning and special needs planning in Santa Clara County. He or she can help you create the best plan for your child so that your plans are executed as you intend.

DO plan while you’re still healthy. Even if you’re relatively young, accidents may happen, and life has a way of diverting our attention from our plans. Planning when you have less stress, both mental and financial, is best for making sound decisions. In fact, it’s best to plan while your child with disabilities is still relatively young, too, so you have plenty of time to choose the best options as he or she approaches adulthood.

DO let other family members know about the plan. A will is a legal instrument and may be your final word, but to avoid confusion and conflict, let your family know your plans for your child with disabilities as soon as you formalize them. A dispute over an estate in California may require lengthy legal action that can stall or stop your will or plans.

DON’T assume siblings or other family members can simply take over for you. If your plans require the involvement of adult siblings or other family members, not only should you let them know, but you should make sure they’re honestly ready and able to become agents and fulfill your wishes. Well-meaning family members may agree without understanding what’s involved, or agree only to make you happy. Neither helps you or your special needs child in the end.

DON’T have someone unfamiliar with your adult child’s needs act as agent in his or her plan. Special needs plans are tailored to the individual child. For example, it may not be obvious to someone that your child needs to live somewhere where he or she can interact with peers on a daily basis, or somewhere that will bus them back and forth to their job or extra-curricular activities.

DON’T wait to have your plan go into effect when you or the other parent dies. Should you or the other parent become incapacitated or incompetent, the estate plan won’t be executed, even though your child will then need the plan to go into effect. A California estate lawyer can help you decide when to put your plan into effect to ensure that your child is properly cared for.

If you have questions or would like help getting started with your own special needs planning in Santa Clara County, contact our office at (650) 422-3313 to schedule a consultation.

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