Dec 15, 2016
By estate planning attorney Rick Law, founder of the Estate Planning Center at Law Elder Law, a multi-generation law firm in the Western suburb of Aurora in Illinois.
My wife and I are empty-nesters. We looked forward to reaching this point with excitement, and a little anxiety too. Having raised four children, it’s time to move on to the more senior stages of downsizing and anticipating our retirement.
Not everyone becomes an empty-nester. And although we sometimes joke about the occasional “failure-to-launch”, the child who still relies heavily on the parents due to their inability to establish a career, there’s another group of parents who will never know the joy of seeing their child be fully self-supporting.
In my office it is not uncommon for me to sit across the table from an 83 year old parent who is still the primary caregiver for a child who is chronically disabled. Those parents live in dread of the day that they will die and their children may survive them and face a future without the loving protection of a parent.
This is the first time in human history that parents face the possibility of having their chronically disabled children actually outlive them. Prior to the introduction of antibiotics and many other great advances in health care, chronically disabled children routinely died at a young age. But now, even parents who have lived to become the frail elderly themselves may have chronically disabled children who are themselves senior citizens, but who are still at home being cared for by their parents.
In fact, sometimes when we assist families in bringing in a professional caregiver for the aged parents, those same caregivers are providing necessary services to the child with the disability, as well. This raises new challenges for those parents and their children. This type of disability is really quite common. “Developmental disabilities” are severe chronic conditions caused by mental and/or physical impairments. Individuals affected by such challenges may be so profoundly impacted that they will never be able to function independently.
So how can a parent be assured that a disabled child will be taken care of after the parent is gone? Some attorneys will recommend that you leave everything to another, non-disabled child, to care for the disabled sibling. This passing of the torch is unfair and in many ways ill-advised. Far better is the creation of a special needs trust specifically for the benefit of your disabled child.
If you’re ready to start getting your estate in order and secure your assets for the “worst-case” scenario, please give our office a call at 800-310-3100. Your first consultation is absolutely free. We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family. Call now.
Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees.
Rick has been named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney for the past 8 years in a row by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law Elder Law, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future. Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care. Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!
My wife and I had our first child three years ago. That’s when we decided to set up a trust, should anything happen to either of us. We reached out to Zach Hesselbaum to help us out. He was very thorough and professional throughout the whole process. Zach went above and beyond to make sure that we understood every detail of setting it up and he did an excellent job. We recently had our second child a few months ago. With the new baby, he helped us make the necessary revisions to the trust. Zach made this process great for us! I would definitely recommend using him for any of your estate planning needs!
Tom G., Naperville, IL