Recently I created a special needs financial plan for a family whose youngest child had a physical disability; it struck me how unaware they were of the dangers in not having a will. In the course of conversation they mentioned that making a will was something they had put on the long finger.
The shocking part of this story, is that the majority of families I work for don’t have a will or at best have a standard will, with no special needs trust set up.
In the event of your death, if you don’t have a will in place the Government steps in and decides what happens to your estate. As you can imagine the government’s objectives may be miles away from what you wish to happen. In the long term this will also cost your family more money and delay the process by month, possibly years to sort everything out.
The government will decide the people or centre who will care for your children if they are under the age of 18. If they believe it is best for your child with special needs they may also make them a ward of court. This is when the court intervenes and manages your child financial affairs on their behalf.
If you have a standard will and your child grows up to be reliant on a means tested benefit, entitlement or service then this potentially can have a negative impact on your child. I have seen it where a share of the family home is sufficient to disqualify a person with a disability from the main allowances available.
However, before you call your solicitor, I strongly recommend that you read my suggestions for wills, trusts and special needs wish, which is in my new booklet.
You will then be in a position to have a knowledgeable conversation with your solicitor on the issues facing you as a parent of a special needs child. Have an outline of what it is you want to happen when you are no longer around and who will step in to the key roles. Take the time to write a Special Needs Wish™ and show this to your solicitor. By educating yourself, you greatly increase the chances of having a will that works for all the family.
It is essential that you get legal advice around what is a very complex area.
Please feel free to contact me on this issue or on any matter regarding special needs financial planning.
This article was written by Allan Cuthbert a Special Needs Financial Planner. Allan has recently published a new booklet “7-Steps To A Brighter & More Secure Future For Your Special Child.” This booklet is available for FREE by calling 021 482 3635 or email [email protected] to order your copy.