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Part 5: Caring for someone with special needs: Guardianship and finding peace of mind.

What about guardianship for people who have special needs?

Guardianship is another pressing issue for people currently caring for a loved one with special needs. Often siblings, aunts or uncles, or your child’s grandparents are the first choice. The role, however, requires a substantial amount of consideration as guardianship practices vary by state, and there aren’t unifying federal guidelines on which to rely.

Additionally, depending on state-specific guidelines, guardianship may result in a special needs adult losing any right—even limited—to self–determination regarding medical care, housing choices, and so on. Because of this, an attorney specializing in family law should always be consulted and involved in the drafting of any binding documents.

A Letter of Intent, drawn up by the parent or guardian of a special needs individual, comprises instructions to a trustee or guardian regarding the type and level of care you would want provided, and can include specifics about health care, education, and living arrangements. While not a legal document, Letters of Intent should be witnessed and notarized.

Find peace of mind through planning.
Ensuring the future well being of the people you love is one of the most important steps you can take. By laying the groundwork early and taking advantage of available resources, you can minimize the worry of caregiving and enjoy its rewards.

So what’s next? Talk to others in your community, including parents, resource groups, and professionals. And contact your agent. When it comes to your family’s financial future, your New York Life agent can help you find solutions that fit your needs. And if you don’t have an agent, we’ll help you find one in your local area. Simply use the Talk to Us tab or the Consult an Agent form on the page, and an agent in your area will contact you at your convenience. Or click here to learn all the ways you can do business with us.

Please note: Neither New York Life Insurance Company nor its agents provide legal or tax advice. Please contact your personal legal or tax advisor to find out whether the general information in this article may or may not apply to your individual circumstances.

You can also learn more about planning for someone with special needs in our series:
Caring for someone with special needs: Where do you start?
Caring for someone with special needs: A look at federal and state programs.
Caring for someone with special needs: Special needs trusts and finding the right professional to help.
Caring for someone with special needs: Assessing the costs of care.