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Well-drafted wills can protect children with disabilities

When most New York parents deal with estate planning, they make sure their minor children will be protected and cared for if they should die or become incapacitated. This concern is heightened for parents of children with disabilities. For them, their wills might need to include plans for lifelong care of their children -- but where should they start?

The first step is to draft a letter of intent with information that will make it easier for those who must step in to know what to do. Include passwords to online accounts and webpages of interest, along with details about the routines of the disabled loved one. Also, medications, routines, therapists and information about the child's unique needs should be noted. Along with a will, the parent can also create a special needs trust that will provide for the child without interrupting government allowances.

Setting up guardianship or power of attorney is an integral part of taking care of the future of a child with disabilities. The first consideration is the severity of the disability. One solution might include full guardianship or medical and financial power of attorney. In a less severe case, the rights of an intellectually disabled child can be preserved. Providing decision-making support can empower the child while ensuring appropriate choices are made.

Establishing wills and trusts to protect the future of a child with disabilities may seem like a daunting prospect, but help is available. Consulting with an experienced New York estate planning attorney is the sensible thing to do. A lawyer can explain the available options after assessing the client's unique circumstances. With the support and guidance of skilled legal counsel, the parent can enjoy life knowing that the appropriate resources are in place, and the child's future is well-defined.

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