Massachusetts Estate Planning and Elder Law

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Caregiver Agreements in Current Events

The New York Times published an article earlier this month featuring an artist who acted as the primary caregiver for her developmentally disabled sister.  After their mother quickly and unexpectedly passed due to pancreatic cancer, Beverly McIver began to look after and live with her older sister. This story is captured in the documentary, Raising Renee, which delves into the ups and downs of a sibling caregiver arrangement. A 10-minute segment on the radio program "The Take Away," featured on WGBH, speaks with Beverly McIver and the filmmakers to provide an empathetic view of a caregiver situation, and the impact it has on the lives involved. Even though the basis of such an arrangement is an extraordinary amount of love, it is not to say that living with it is easy.  

If you are planning for a child with special needs, it is important to consider what will happen when you pass.  Who will take care of your child? How can you provide for your child's wellbeing? Where will they be able to stay? What happens if your appointed caregiver or Trustee can't handle the situation? What would you do if a loved one asked such a great responsibility of you?

You shouldn't feel trapped by these questions. Use your uncertainties to guide an open discussion with whomever you are thinking of naming to provide care for your child. A Special Needs Planning attorney can help guide your discussions with your loved ones, and provide support during the difficult decisions and conversations.  Oftentimes, attorneys act as co-trustees for Supplemental Needs Trusts, working closely with a family member to ensure that the emotional and logistical support is in place for the individual throughout their lifetime. Creating a partnership for the sole-benefit of your loved one is an excellent way to give yourself peace of mind, and one that can begin with a simple conversation with a Special Needs attorney. If you think that you or a loved one may benefit from Special Needs Planning, take the first step towards a better life; contact an attorney who is dedicated to finding the best possible solutions for you.

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