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As the parent of a child with Down syndrome you most likely wear many hats. These include the roles of caregiver, advocate, decision maker, champion, friend, parent, fiduciary… just to name a few. What happens, however, should a time arise when you are no longer here to act in that capacity? What will happen to your child? Who will care for him or her? And, at the end of the day, would they be able to act as you would?

This is most likely not a time you want to think about. For most of us, thinking about a time when we might be incapacitated, disabled, or even pass away is not enjoyable. For the parent of a child with special needs, however, a future that does not include us can be terrifying.

This is where estate planning with an emphasis on special needs can help. When you work with an experienced attorney in this area, your attorney can guide you through the estate planning tools available to provide for both you and your child with Down syndrome. Your estate planning attorney has special training in this area to ensure that he or she is able to confidently advise you of what to plan for now as well as years in the future.

Just a few of the considerations your estate planning attorney is going to discuss with you as you develop a plan for your child together include:

• Is there another parent or companion who helps you care for your child?
• What are your child’s interests?
• What is the level at which your child is able to make his or her own decisions?
• Who are his or her doctors and specialists?
• Is he or she on any special medication?
• Are there emotional triggers that a future caregiver would need to know?
• Is your child receiving any government benefits?
• What is your child’s level of education? Are there more family members to plan for?

These are just a few of the questions that will need to be answered as you begin to plan your estate with your special needs planning attorney. To best prepare for this meeting and planning process together, you can make a list of your own questions that you will need to be answered. As your child’s main advocate you know what you believe is in his or her best interest and will be able to discuss this with the attorney as well.

We know this is a challenging time and want to be able to support you. Do not hesitate to contact our office to schedule a special needs planning appointment. At Britton G. Swank, P.A., our mission is to guide you in the right direction to help you provide for yourself and your loved ones no matter what the future holds. We want to help you control the assets you have, leave them to people and causes you care about, when you want, in the way you want. We can help you take care of yourself and those you love in the event of disability due to illness, injury or old age. No matter what risks unfold, we can help give you the comfort of knowing you are prepared. We want you to feel good about your future and the future of your loved ones. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting.