Estate planning is an important part of taking care of a loved one. For the parents of a child who requires support for daily living, estate planning becomes a lifelong process. There are a number of considerations that involve the physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual care of family members who will continue to need support after you’re no longer able to provide it yourself.
It is not uncommon for the caregivers to struggle with planning beyond their years. Where most people are planning for their retirement, the caregivers for a child with special needs must plan for their child’s needs in retirement. In other words, the caregivers must plan for how their child will be cared for after they have passed on.
This planning includes monetary resources, care facilities, and future caregivers who could provide support and care for their child. Having a plan is reassuring, but not always comforting. That’s because transitions cause change and change introduces new uncertainties. Regardless of the challenges faced by caregivers, there is no reason not to have a plan.
If you are a caregiver to a child with special needs, take the time to sit down with a lawyer and discuss your situation and the needs of your child. Doing this is the greatest display of love towards your child and to those around you.
If you are caring for a spouse with Alzheimer’s, dementia, a chronic illness, or disabilty, having your estate plans in place will allow you to provide the care you need, when you need to. Take the time to get your affairs in order before you have to make decisions for your spouse. If you are caring for a parent in this same situation, having estate documents allows you to manage your parent’s care and affairs in his or her best interest.
The best time to establish estate documents pertaining to the care of your parents is before they need care. So if you haven’t had “the talk” with them about their future care needs, now is the time to do it. You want to reassure them that regardless of the circumstances, you are there for them and always will be.
Finally, if you are a caregiver to a combat affected veteran, let me first say thank you for your sacrifice. I believe this is one of the most important acts of service you can give to your country outside of the act of service the veteran has provided. If you have not already sat down with a lawyer to discuss estate planning, I would highly recommend you do so today; especially if you have children who might one day have to serve as the next generation of caregiver.
Estate planning is vitally important, yet so many people procrastinate. For those who are caregivers, it is a duty of the role. Learn all you can about the options that are available for you and make a plan. You can establish tax-favored accounts for disabled children and adults under the age of twenty-six.
Estate planning is important for everyone, but it is especially important for the caregiver. Take the time necessary to get your affairs in order. Remember, life can change in an instant and being ready is the best way to say I love you… and that’s something to think about.