AlerStallings works with many families that have a member with special needs, such as Down syndrome. Since October is “Down Syndrome Awareness Month,” we cannot think of a better time to encourage families to consider planning for a child with special needs. For many of our families, the best way to plan is with a special needs trust.
Down syndrome is a chromosomal condition that affects and alters development and occurs in people of all races and economic levels. People with Down syndrome have increased health risks associated with the condition, such as heart defects, Alzheimer’s, and thyroid conditions, but often live a fairly healthy life if their health is made a priority. In fact, the life expectancy for people with Down syndrome has risen from 25 years in 1983 to 60 years today.
Down syndrome can cause cognitive delays, but these delays are usually mild or moderate. People with Down syndrome work, fall in love, engage in decision-making that affects their lives, attend
school, and make friends—in other words, they participate in society and live their lives much as we all do.
A special needs trust is an estate planning vehicle used to protect assets for a disabled beneficiary without jeopardizing his or her benefits, typically Medicaid and SSI. A person with Down syndrome who is leading a productive, engaging life needs to be able to receive the health and other benefits of government programs without losing money for things that Medicaid doesn’t fund, such as recreational activities, trips, certain health care not covered by Medicaid, and other activities or items that enrich and enhance life. A special needs trust protects assets necessary for funding those things in life that are as necessary as medical care.
If you would like to protect your child with a special needs trust, please call AlerStallings at (614) 798-9800. Happy Down Syndrome Awareness Month!