Don’t Wait to Plan Your Estate: The Importance of Estate Planning while Living with a Disability


Written by Mackenzie Saunders:

Estate planning is the process of making plans for your assets, family, and property when you die or if you someday lose your mental capacity due to severe disability. Estate planning is incredibly important, but unfortunately, many people do not think about estate planning until it is too late. You should not wait to plan your estate — especially if you are a person with a disability.

The unfortunate reality of living life with a disability is this: having a disability can lead to many different, and sometimes sudden, health complications. You never know when a major health complication will pop up, and you need to be prepared in case this happens. You, your family, and your estate deserve to be protected at all times. Proper estate planning will ensure that you, your family, and your estate will be taken care of in any situation.

paper with 'estate planning' text

The most important aspects of estate planning for people with disabilities are as follows:

  • Creating special needs trusts
  • Creating an ABLE account
  • Understanding Medicare
  • Understanding probate court
  • Assigning Guardianships and Conservatorships
  • Choosing a health care proxy
  • Ensuring durable power of attorney

Special needs trusts are special bank accounts that permit people with disabilities to save money and reduce taxes on savings, all while allowing people to keep their needed Medicaid or Social Security benefits. ABLE accounts are also designed to help people with disabilities save money long-term, all while leaving their benefits unaffected. Medicare can also help people save money by significantly reducing medical costs once a person turns 65 years old. Probate court, on the other hand, is the court system that helps distribute the estate of someone who is deceased; understanding how this system works is key to ensuring your assets are distributed properly. Guardianships and Conservatorships are also essential aspects of estate planning — these are legally-assigned positions that grant someone responsibility for a minor, or for an adult with significant disabilities, once the person’s guardian is deceased. Choosing a health care proxy is also important, as this is a legally assigned position that grants someone the ability to make health care decisions on your behalf if you ever become incapacitated. Lastly, durable power of attorney is an agreement that grants someone responsibility for another party’s financial, medical, and/or estate decisions — the “durable” status of this position allows a person to make important decisions on your behalf if you ever become incapacitated.

All of these aspects of estate planning are essential, especially if you live with a disability. You should not wait to plan your estate — instead, you should take the proper steps to protect yourself, your family, and your assets by contacting an experienced special needs planning attorney today. An experienced special needs planning lawyer will help you properly plan your estate. The Spinal Cord Injury Law Firm knows estate planning well, and we can help ensure that you, your family, and your estate are protected. Contact us today at 1-877-SCI-FIRM or for a free legal consultation.