Parenting isn’t always easy, and it’s even less so when your child has a disability. We all have dreams of our children reaching full independence, but sometimes, this just isn’t possible. Our children may have needs that go beyond what others require, special needs that require specific planning in order to make sure that the child is well looked after once the parents are gone.

In a nutshell, special needs planning is the legal and financial plan to take care of a child, often an adult child, whose disabilities require that they have scaffolding in place to live a full, healthy life. These children may have physical, mental, or both types of needs that require additional care. As adults, these children may not be able to live on their own or gain employment, for example, and will need a comprehensive plan in place to assure a secure future.

Special needs planning is something every parent of a child with disabilities must individually consider, as a “one-size-fits-all” approach is not likely to work.  For example, a child may be in a wheelchair, but otherwise able to care for him or herself. This child may have great prospects, and as such, the plan may be relatively simple. There will be no need, say, for a power of attorney for this adult child, as he or she is mentally fit to handle his or her own affairs and should be able to find gainful employment.

In other cases, however, the child may not be able to handle all of the details of adult life. Securing safe housing, paying bills, finding employment, and other needs may be beyond the scope of the child’s capabilities. In cases like these, a special needs and guardianship lawyer in Orange County can help the parents to formally define who will have control over the child’s assets and freedoms once the parents have passed away. A plan can also be put into place to safeguard a trust fund for the child to ensure a high quality of life.

Another important aspect of special needs planning is determining the transition plan once the child reaches adulthood. Some adults with special needs remain with their families; others move into group housing for adults who need extra care. Either choice may be right for your family, but determining what the future will hold for your child, and who gets to “call the shots” when you are gone, is a critical component of special needs planning.

A guardianship lawyer in Orange County can also help assist you in determining exactly what your child may need in the future to ensure proper quality of care. Likewise, by formalizing the details of who will have responsibility for your child and how their finances will be maintained, you can eliminate a lot of stress after you have passed away. Some families are disinterested in helping; others have people lining up to take care of their family member, but either way, having these details determined in advance is your best bet for taking care of your special needs child over the long haul.