Estate Planning for Parents of Children with Special Needs – Legal advice for parents on how to include their special needs children in their estate plans without jeopardizing government aid


Understanding Special Needs Trusts

When parents are planning their estate with a special needs child in mind, one of the primary tools recommended by Collins Disability Law is the establishment of a Special Needs Trust (SNT). This legal structure allows parents to leave assets to their special needs child without endangering their eligibility for government assistance programs like Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

The key benefit of an SNT is that the assets within the trust are not counted as available resources for the purpose of determining the child’s eligibility for most federal and state aid programs. Collins Disability Law emphasizes that proper setup and administration of the trust are crucial. The trust should be designed to supplement, not replace, the government benefits and should be used for expenses that enhance the child’s quality of life.

Legal Strategies for Estate Planning

Collins Disability Law advises that estate planning for parents of children with special needs should be approached with a comprehensive strategy. Beyond setting up an SNT, parents should consider other legal documents and arrangements to ensure the complete protection and provision for their child’s future.

A well-crafted estate plan may include a will, powers of attorney, and healthcare directives, all tailored to support the special needs child. For instance, a power of attorney can specify a trusted individual to manage affairs if the parents are unable to do so. Additionally, healthcare directives can provide clear instructions on the child’s care preferences and medical interventions.

Guardianship and Advocacy

Establishing guardianship is another critical aspect of estate planning highlighted by Collins Disability Law. As children with special needs reach adulthood, parents must consider legal guardianship to retain the ability to make decisions on behalf of their adult child, if necessary. This legal step ensures that parents or another appointed guardian can advocate for the child’s needs, manage their healthcare, and make financial decisions.

Collins Disability Law stresses the importance of selecting a guardian who is committed to acting in the best interest of the child, understanding their unique needs and advocating on their behalf in legal and medical contexts.

Coordinating with Government Aid

A significant concern for parents is how their estate plan might impact their child’s eligibility for government aid. Collins Disability Law guides parents through the complex interplay between estate assets and government assistance programs. They provide expertise on how to structure the estate to enhance the child’s financial security without disqualifying them from necessary government benefits.

By staying updated with the latest legal developments and government policies, Collins Disability Law ensures that parents receive informed advice that reflects the current legal landscape.


Estate planning for parents of children with special needs is a nuanced process that requires specialized knowledge and expertise. Collins Disability Law, with its deep understanding of disability laws and commitment to families in Chicago, offers a compassionate and comprehensive approach to estate planning. They help parents create a secure plan that respects their wishes and provides for their child’s well-being without compromising their access to vital government assistance.