A Law Career

How To Financially Plan For A Disabled Child's Care In The Long Term

by Ruby Mckinney

If you're concerned about the long-term well-being of children who have developmental disabilities that make it difficult for them to support themselves, then it's important to take some steps to handle this issue. Here are a few ways you can do this.

Setting Up a Quasi-Revocable Living Trust

If you're also worried about your own long-term mental state, a good approach is to set up a quasi-revocable living trust to care for the child in the long term. There are ways to do this even if you're of limited means, often through long-term payment plans. You want to be able to retain some control if details change later on in your life, however.

What If the Person Becomes Fully Incapable of Decisions?

Another potential concern in this situation is if a mentally ill child is severely ill enough to either now, or at some point in the future, be unable to give consent or offer authority on any decision. It's currently illegal to put someone in a mental health facility against their will unless you can absolutely prove that they are a danger to themselves or to other people.

And even if you are able to lawfully get them care, many areas still make it legal for the mentally ill to refuse any treatments except in very specific situations. This means that most doctors will refuse to follow the will or the instructions of an executor over the stated wishes of a mentally ill child until a judge says otherwise.

Some states have an extra option for this case called Psychiatric Advance Directives that help with this problem. These directives allow a second part legally act on behalf of a child if they become ill and unable to decide anything for themselves. The directive usually needs to be written by the child themselves, or otherwise created through an estate lawyer. This way, you can be sure that the money you set aside will be used for the child if they become more fully unable to handle decisions after you're gone.  

Find an Estate Lawyer Early

You really don't want to drag your feet on locating an estate lawyer, such as Price & Associates, if you know that the child in question is both likely to live into adulthood and also likely incapable of providing for themselves. A lawyer can help guide you through the process to make sure everything is set up properly. This doesn't necessarily need to be someone who specializes in the mentally ill since this is all covered under estate law normally.