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Planning for a special needs child turning 18

When you have a special needs child, you have to make important planning decisions. From financial security to healthcare and personal well-being, you must be involved at every stage to ensure the welfare of your child. At the age of 18, your child is legally independent and you may face different challenges. Planning ahead and knowing your rights can ensure that your family is secure through this transition.

When your child turns 18, there are legal considerations to ensure that your child is protected and that you have the necessary legal authority to help them. If your child is capacitated in the state of California, they may already be collecting Social Security disability benefits for children. Benefits may shift when your child turns 18, so it is important to understand what benefits are available. Working with an experienced advocate can help you successfully apply and collect them on behalf of a child.

Social Security disability law and legal provisions involving special needs children can be complicated. You must make sure that necessary paperwork is filed and that applications are complete. Working with an experienced attorney can also be financially beneficially because any attorney can be paid by the Social Security Administration if the claim is ultimately successful.

The application process is important to ensure timely processing. For children of special needs this is very important because Social Security Disability could be your child's only source of income in the future. In addition to filing for Social Security disability benefits, parents of special needs children can create a special needs trust to ensure the financial security of your child. If your child lacks decision-making capacity, you can initiate guardianship proceedings to assign durable powers of attorney. Stand-in guardians should also be named in the event of an emergency.

Making appropriate planning decisions as your child transitions into adulthood can ensure financial security and protect your child's well-being into the future. You can protect their immediate livelihood and ensure a quality of life into adulthood.

Source: Daily Herald, "Your teenager is now an adult, but what does that really mean?" Jean Murphy, July 15, 2012.

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