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Special Needs Estate Planning: Which Documents Do I Need?

(This is the third article in our multi-part estate planning series.)


If you have a child with special needs, there are countless issues you must consider as you plan for their future care and well-being. You are their primary guardian today – but what happens if you are suddenly incapacitated or otherwise unable to continue in your caregiving role? Of course, you want your child to be cared for according to your wishes.

Now, we understand this is very personal information. You may feel you want to “keep it in the family” and not involve an outsider in your personal business.

However, you don’t know what you don’t know. Just as you would never consider performing your own surgery, substantial legal circumstances require the assistance of a professional.

It’s critically important to meet with an estate planning lawyer who routinely assists families with children with special needs.

Experienced estate planning attorneys like Sussan, Greenwald & Wesler’s Alex Hilsen, Esq., LL.M., have “been there, done that” when it comes to managing various challenges.

“Every single family’s circumstances are different and require careful understanding and consideration,” Mr. Hilsen said. “However, in my years working with families with children with special needs, there are very few questions I haven’t heard in some form or another and few situations I haven’t helped families work through.”

During a confidential consultation, Mr. Hilsen will get a full understanding of your family’s issues and work side-by-side with you to determine solutions that will be in your child’s best interest.

Special circumstances aside, there are certain documents that all families must consider as they plan for the future of a child with special needs:

  • Will – Even if you do not have substantial assets, you need a will to ensure whatever you do have is bequeathed to the people you choose.
  • Healthcare power of attorney – This document assigns to someone you trust responsibility for making decisions regarding your health should you become unable to do so for yourself. This includes end-of-life decisions.
  • Durable power of attorney – This document designates another person to handle your financial matters according to your wishes.
  • Guardianship designations – If you have children, assigning guardianship is very important. When you have a child with special needs, the choice becomes even more essential.

A special needs estate planning attorney knows the ins and outs of the entire process. Based on your specific situation, Mr. Hilsen will advise and guide you through the process.

It’s never too early to have peace of mind. Contact Alex Hilsen, Esq., LLM., estate planning attorney at Sussan, Greenwald & Wesler, today for a consultation about your estate planning needs.