Having a plan for the possibility of becoming mentally incapacitated is a must, especially for baby boomers and their elderly parents. Why? Because without a disability plan, you and your assets may end up in a court-supervised guardianship, also called conservatorship in some states, which is discussed in more detail below. There are several legal documents that you need to have in place to protect you and your property from guardianship or conservatorship, including a Power of Attorney, an Advance Medical Directive and a Living Will. In addition, a Revocable Living Trust can be part of a comprehensive disability plan.
Special needs planning encompasses the legal needs of disabled individuals, including both children and adults. In many cases these individuals will be eligible to receive government benefits (both state and federal) due to a physical disability and/or mental disability. However, if these individuals are gifted assets or inherit assets, then they may no longer qualify for any government assistance, so it is important to understand that if you want a special needs individual to receive part of your estate, then you will need to do specific planning to insure that the individual will continue to receive government assistance.