Are there any legal considerations or planning requirements I should be aware of as a parent of a child with autism, such as guardianship or special needs trusts?
Yes, as a parent of a child with autism, there are legal considerations and planning requirements that you should be aware of. Here are a few key areas to consider:
Guardianship: Guardianship is a legal arrangement where a person is appointed to make decisions on behalf of an individual who is unable to make their own decisions due to a disability. When your child with autism turns 18, they will be considered a legal adult and you will no longer have the legal authority to make decisions on their behalf unless you have guardianship. You may want to consider pursuing guardianship to ensure that you can continue to make decisions for your child.
Special Needs Trust: A special needs trust is a legal tool that can be used to provide for the financial needs of a person with a disability, without disqualifying them from government benefits such as Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Setting up a special needs trust can be an important part of your long-term planning to ensure that your child with autism is provided for financially.
Education Planning: Your child with autism may be entitled to special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). You may need to work with your school district to develop an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) that outlines the specific services and accommodations that your child needs to receive a free and appropriate public education.
Healthcare Planning: Healthcare planning is also an important consideration for parents of children with autism. You may want to consider creating a healthcare proxy or medical power of attorney to ensure that you can make healthcare decisions on behalf of your child if they are unable to make their own decisions.
It's important to work with an attorney who specializes in special needs planning to ensure that you are taking all of the necessary legal steps to protect your child's interests. They can help you navigate the complex legal requirements and help you create a plan that meets your child's unique needs.