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Four estate plans for parents of special needs children

As a parent, you always want to put your child first. You want to make sure that their safety is your priority, and they will be taken care of no matter what situation you’re in. However, some children require additional attention due to their disabilities.

Luckily, estate planning allows you to protect your child’s wellbeing, even after you pass. In South Carolina, there are at least four estate plans you should consider when you are a parent of a child with special needs.

Special Needs Trust

First, investigate special needs trusts – a trust fund that allows parents to contribute money for the benefit of a disabled child or adult. Special needs trusts operate similarly to a standard trust, but it offers several additional benefits, including Medicaid and Security Supplemental Income (SSI). It also can protect the child from financial abuse or oversight on how the funds are spent.


A special needs trust will need a trustee, someone you can trust to manage the funds and watch out for the interests of your child. Along with a trustee, you also need to choose a guardian for your child. Almost every parent picks out a legal guardian for their kids because the guardian makes personal decisions and takes care of the child on the parents’ behalf.

It’s even more crucial for a disabled child because they may need more care and attention for a more extended period. It makes sense that parents need to designate the right guardian for their child with special needs.


Along with guardianship, some parents establish a conservatorship, which is a person who makes financial decisions for the child. Different from guardianship, conservators focus on managing property and estates for adults with special needs.  Most of the time, guardians or a person’s power of attorney also hold conservatorship for a disabled adult.

Power of Attorney

It’s crucial that parents at least set up a power of attorney for their estate. It’s another aspect to guardianship or conservatorship where someone has authority for another person for legal matters. For example, a power of attorney allows someone to speak on your child’s behalf or express their best interests in court. It’s incredibly helpful to have another person to advocate for your child.

All these plans overlap and work together to create a secure future for your child. Do not wait until it’s too late to protect your children from others who make take advantage of their estate.

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