Are you a Connecticut resident without a Last Will and Testament? More specifically, are you a parent of a child with special needs and you don’t have a Will?
There are some facts you need to know…and they may surprise you.
For starters, take a look at The Shocking Truth About Not Having a Will, a blog we posted about why a Will is important and the consequences of not having one.
Implications for parents of children with special needs
Most parents of a child with special needs have considered what will happen after they die. Who will look after the child? Where will he live? Choosing a guardian for any child is an important decision. For parents of a special needs child, that decision takes on additional layers of complexity.
Not knowing who to appoint as guardian often delays parents from signing a Will. We encourage parents to not let that indecision hold them back. Wills can be updated as circumstances change – guardianship is not the only reason to have a Will.
As you learned in our post about dying without a Last Will and Testament, you’re giving the state permission to make decisions for you. Most parents are surprised to learn if they die without a Will, their spouse doesn’t automatically get everything.
What the state decides for you
In Connecticut, if you die “intestate” (without a Will), the laws of intestacy determine how your property will be distributed. Let’s take a closer look:
- If you die with children, but no spouse, your children inherit everything.
- If you die with a spouse and descendants of you and that spouse, your spouse inherits the first $100,000 of your intestate property, plus half of the balance; your descendants inherit everything else.
- If you die with a spouse, and at least one descendant of you and someone other than your spouse, your spouse inherits half of your intestate property, and your descendants inherit everything else.
You will notice in all 3 of these scenarios, whether you are a single parent, divorced, or married, that your children could inherit property from you.
What if your child inherits money?
Would you want your 18 year old “adult” child to inherit money without any supervision? How old is “old enough” to manage money responsibly? These are concerns every parent should consider.
For a child with special needs, these concerns, once again, take on additional layers of complexity.
- Will inheriting money impact the child’s needs-based public benefits, such as SSI or Medicaid?
- Will someone take advantage of your special needs child and his inheritance?
These are immensely important questions to answer. You need to make sure your child with special needs inherits in such a way that it can have the most beneficial impact – this can be accomplished with a Will or a special needs trust. Your loss will be difficult enough for your child; don’t add to the trauma by not having an estate plan in place.
Don’t wait. Contact a Connecticut special needs attorney today.