Are you the parent of a child with Down syndrome? We know you are busy as a parent, caregiver, advocate, decision maker, champion, friend and fiduciary, just to name a few of your roles. That being said, what would happen if you were no longer here? What would happen to your child? Who would care for him or her? Would the person who took over for you be able to act as you would?

These are not easy questions to read or even think about. Most of us do not want to contemplate a time when we might be incapacitated, disabled, or even have passed away. However, for the parent of a child with special needs a future that does not include him or her as the parent can be terrifying.

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

Below we have a few of the considerations your estate planning attorney is going to discuss with you as you develop a plan for your child that may 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?

The questions above are just a few that will need to be answered as you begin to plan your estate with your special needs planning attorney. In addition, to best prepare for this meeting and planning process together, you should make a list of your own questions that you will want to be answered. Remember, as your child’s best advocate, you know what you believe is in his or her best interest and will be able to discuss this with your attorney as you plan for your child with Down syndrome.

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. We know this article may raise more questions that it answers. We encourage you to contact us and schedule a meeting with attorney Alan Hougum today.