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As a child with special needs approaches the age of 18, a variety of circumstances change. Programs that are available to help with the care of minors may no longer be available for adults. Eligibility for public financial benefits is subject to strict rules. Health care decisions may not automatically be left to parents or guardians.

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The bipartisan Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act, introduced by Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Mike Johanns (R-NE) at the end of July, would expand affordable housing options under the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 811 program for people with disabilities.

The Section 811 program provides a benefit to individuals with disabilities in the form of housing vouchers.

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Unexpected illness or injury can intrude upon an individual’s life at any time, preventing work and cutting off valuable sources of income. Social Security disability benefits are available to those unable to work due to illness or injury, but many who apply for benefits have their initial claim denied. There is a process for appeal of a denial of claim that can be taken advantage of, improving the chances of receiving important benefits.

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A letter of intent is not a legal document, but it is still an important part of planning for the future of a child with special needs. A letter of intent contains important information about the child such as his or her history, likes, dislikes, current health and emotional status and hopes for the future. The letter may also include details about the parents’ wishes for the future care of …

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An important consideration for parents of a maturing special needs child is housing. Families will need to do significant research into their options to make sure their child is properly cared for when he or she can no longer live at home. If the child will require a group home or some other form or supportive housing, asking the right questions can help the transition go as smoothly as possible. …

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One of the most effective ways to prepare for the future of your child with special needs is to establish a Special Needs Trust tailored to the individual needs of your loved. Special Needs Trusts, also known as Supplemental Needs Trusts, are usually set up as inter vivos trusts for the benefit of one child. The Trust is created separately from a family’s estate for tax purposes and is managed by a trustee.

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Several ways to fund your trust

Establishing an estate plan is just the first step in preparing for your future care and the future care of your loved ones. If you have chosen to set up a trust for tax and probate purposes, it is important to stick to a regular schedule of funding your trust. Funding your trust is the process of re-naming your assets so that they are in the Trust’s name and therefore …

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People who leave a large sum of money to a loved one with a disability are always doing so with the best intention at heart. On its face, a lump sum in the tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars seems like a gift that will help care for your loved one for a long time. However, this is not always the case.

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If you are the caregiver for an individual with special needs, there is a good chance he or she is receiving public benefits such as Social Security disability. Public benefits are subject to strict income restrictions, which, if exceeded can result in the loss of funds that your loved one has come to depend on. Because of these restrictions, leaving assets directly to a beneficiary who is receiving public benefits …

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When you can no longer care for a loved one with special needs, a Letter of Guidance can help make their transition to a new living situation go as smoothly as possible. The Letter of Guidance, written on the premise that no one knows a child better than a parent, contains important information about your loved one’s history, likes, dislikes, current health and emotional status, hopes and dreams, as well as what your wishes are for their future.

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