Down Syndrome- Planning for You Loved One’s Future

Fredericksburg Elder LawThis month, we celebrate National Special Needs Law and Down Syndrome Awareness months.

One in 691 children are born with Down Syndrome and there are more than 400,000 people currently living with the condition in the U.S.  Although the genetic disorder has been recognized for decades, scientists still know very little about the cause.  During the Month of October, national and local organizations join together to increase advocacy for the people with Down Syndrome.

Down syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial third copy of chromosome 21. (Typically, people have two copies of each chromosome.) People with Down syndrome have an increased risk for certain medical conditions such as respiratory and hearing problems, childhood leukemia, and thyroid conditions. Additionally, early-onset Alzheimer’s disease is more common in those with Down Syndrome. It is important to be aware of the connection between Down Syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease so that proper monitoring can be done to look for signs or symptoms of the disease.

If you have a child with Down Syndrome, during his or her lifetime, he or she may depend on government benefits such as Medicaid or SSI to pay for vital health care and subsidized services.  What if your child outlives you and cannot live independently?  If you were gone and your child was forced to deplete his or her inheritance, he or she could be left with the bare minimum provided by government assistance, and no more.

More than 20 million U.S. families have at least one family member with special needs. On top of concerns about their child’s health, parents of children with special needs, such as Down Syndrome, are tasked with planning how to support their child throughout their lifetime. A Special Needs Trust is a vehicle that provides assets from which a disabled person can maintain his or her quality of life, while still remaining eligible for needs-based programs, such as Medicaid and SSI, that will cover basic health and living expenses.  No one can replace the nurturing, love, and support that you provide to your child on a daily basis. However, the idea behind a Special Needs Trust is to help fill the financial gap after you’re gone, allowing your child to keep his or her government benefits while enjoying a quality of life similar to the one your child current enjoys.

Do you have a special needs child? The majority of American families who have a loved one with special needs require legal planning to ensure that the needs of their special needs family member are met.  Regardless of the type of disability, our Fairfax and Fredericksburg Special Needs Planning Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C. will work with your family to determine legal options for individuals and families of children and adults with special needs to plan for the future.  Learn more about the services we provide on our Special Needs Planning Website at VirginiaSpecialNeeds.com. We also invite you to call 703-691-1888 to make an appointment for a no-cost consultation to learn more about special needs planning.

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About Evan H Farr, CELA, CAP

Evan H. Farr is a 4-time Best-Selling author in the field of Elder Law and Estate Planning. In addition to being one of approximately 500 Certified Elder Law Attorneys in the Country, Evan is one of approximately 100 members of the Council of Advanced Practitioners of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is a Charter Member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners.

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