Parents of children with special needs often find themselves overwhelmed with the daily responsibilities of managing their child’s care and coordinating various services. There is often very little time or energy left to spend on long-term planning.
However, consulting with a special needs attorney in Orange County can get you started on the right path to preparing for your child’s future. An experienced attorney can advise you on what documents and plans you’ll need in place to make it easier for you to stay involved in your child’s care once he or she reaches adulthood.
Remember, once your child turns 18, he or she is legally considered an adult. This means that you will no longer have access to medical and financial information unless those permissions have been given to you by your child or by a court order. The good news is that a special needs attorney can guide you toward the most appropriate way to secure such permission. For example, if your child has the ability to do so, he or she can sign a power of attorney form giving the parent legal authority to make personal decisions and manage finances. If your child lacks the capacity to enter into such legal agreements, seeking a Conservatorship may be a more suitable option for you and your child.
A special needs attorney can also help you determine the type of benefits your child may be eligible for and how to manage those benefits so that your child has everything he or she needs. For example, as an adult, your child may be eligible for programs such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medi-Cal and food stamps. For needs that aren’t covered by government assistance programs, a special needs attorney will explain your options for private funding in a legally protected way. These options may include setting up a Special Needs Trust, taking out a life insurance policy, setting up an ABLE account, and tapping into other resources that won’t affect eligibility for public assistance services.
Aside from offering advice on the legal aspects of caring for your adult child with special needs, your attorney can also connect you with local social workers or care planners in the community. These professionals are often well-informed when it comes to community groups and other resources for caregivers, and they are connected with a network of case managers, therapists, and other professionals.
As the parent of a child with special needs, you already have a lot on your plate. Working with a special needs attorney in Orange County can take some of the load off and give you some peace of mind knowing that your child will enter their adult years with everything they need. If you’re ready to get started with your planning, contact our Orange County law firm at (949) 260-1400. We’d be happy to help your family prepare for the future.