Many of our Kent readers may be parents or know parents of a child with special needs. Those who tuned in to a recent discussion about the difficult but important choice to establish guardianship for a vulnerable child transitioning into adulthood will also want to learn more about the value of a special needs trust in providing for a child's ongoing needs.
Any Kent resident who has served as the guardian for a vulnerable child knows that the challenges of caring for a loved one do not end with the establishment of legal guardianship. As one father recently discovered, the difficult decisions that need to be made in the scope of everyday care can sometimes distract a guardian from big-picture issues that may arise long after legal intervention because of incapacity. Every guardian needs to remember that resources are available to help you through a trying time.
Parents across King County understand the special challenges inherent in raising a child with a cognitive disability. Those challenges can become even more concerning as a vulnerable child grows into adulthood. Unfortunately, some parents of vulnerable children may feel intimidated by the legal system and neglect to take steps that can give them the legal authority necessary for the continuance of much needed care.
Estate planning can sometimes require us to consider unpleasant but nonetheless probable aspects of our future. Many Washington residents no doubt procrastinate in deciding on matters of guardianship or powers of attorney. Plus, there may be a bit of a selfish strain running through much of our procrastination, since the ones who most benefit from a solid estate plan will do so after we're gone. But these are important issues to consider, and the basic goal of all estate planning is to provide for one's own needs, as well as for the needs of loved ones. To achieve this double outcome, estate planners in Seattle and the surrounding areas will want to give their estate plan a 2012 checkup.