How does estate planning protect the disabled and their family?

Proper estate planning allows you to plan for yourself and your loved ones without giving up control of your affairs.  Your estate plan should allow you to plan for the possibility of your own disability.  It should give what you own to whom you want to receive it, the way you want them to receive it, and when you want them to receive it.  Your estate plan should save every tax dollar, professional fee, and court costs that are legally possible to save.

A Special Needs Trust is a special trust that holds title to property for the benefit of a child or adult who has a disability. The Special Needs Trust can be used to provide for the needs of a person with a disability and supplement benefits received from various governmental assistance programs, including SSI and Medi-Cal. A trust can hold cash, real property, personal property and can be the beneficiary of life insurance policies.

A Limited Conservatorship is a court proceeding whereby an individual or agency is appointed to be responsible for a developmentally disabled adult. These conservatorships are “limited” because the developmentally an adult with a developmental disability retains the power to care for her or himself and/or manage her or his financial resources to the extent that the court finds that she or he is able to do so. The limited conservator cares for and controls those aspects of daily life that the court finds the adult who is developmentally disabled cannot competently handle.