For families with Autistic children, the journey is often unique and can be filled with both opportunities and challenges that require planning. One important aspect that deserves particular consideration is estate planning. As parents, ensuring the long-term wellbeing and financial security of your Autistic child becomes paramount, especially when you are no longer there to provide that care personally. In this blog, we will explore the significance of estate planning for families of Autistic children and offer valuable advice to help parents through this process.
Understanding the unique needs of Autistic individuals
Autistic individuals can have distinct needs and preferences, and are essential to consider when creating an estate plan. Considerations should include any supports needed for daily living, medical care and any specialised services or therapies for wellbeing. Identifying these needs is the first step to creating a tailored estate plan for your child.
Some key components to consider include:
1. Selecting a guardian
Identifying a guardian who understands and is willing to support your Autistic child is vital. This individual will step in to provide care and make decisions for the child if you are no longer able to do so. Open communication with the potential guardian is essential to ensure a smooth transition and understanding of needs and preferences.
2. Documenting medical and educational preferences
Clearly outline any medical and/or educational preferences in the estate plan, along with preferred doctors, therapists and educational programs if required.
3. Regular updates
The needs and circumstances of Autistic individuals can change over time. Therefore, it is crucial to update your estate plan regularly. This can be due to medical circumstances, living situation or any government regulation changes to ensure the estate plan remains current and effective.
Other things to consider when making your estate plan are:
- Power of attorney
- Executors and trustees
- Testamentary trusts and special disability trusts
- Managing family discretionary trusts
Some of the resources and support available are:
Connect with local and national organisations that specialise in supporting Autistic individuals and their families, like Aspect. These groups can provide valuable resources, guidance and a supportive community.
Financial advisors and legal professionals
Seek advice from financial advisors and legal professionals experienced in estate planning for families with special needs children. They can help navigate the complex requirements and financial considerations specific to the situation.
Educational workshops and webinars
There are various workshops and webinars hosted by experts in estate planning and can offer a wealth of information and an opportunity to ask questions directly to knowledge professionals.