“There is a great deal of overlap between estate planning and family law,” as California attorney Christina McPherson points out. Last week we discussed just one example of the way different fields of law overlap, talking about the fact that grandparents planning to leave legacies to their grandchildren might be fighting for greater visitation opportunities with those grandchildren. We explained how  estate planning attorneys might need to work together with family law attorneys to address our clients’ concerns and goals.

Yet another example of overlap occurs when a divorce settlement involves a support agreement for a special needs child. “There are few challenges more difficult than going through a divorce and having a child with special needs,” writes Lili A Vasileff on the Special Needs Alliance website. There are issues of child custody, of visitation, and of support.

At our Indianapolis estate planning and elder law firm, we understand how true Vasileff’s cautionary statement is: Care must be given to unique issues that arise in the child’s transition into adulthood, such as guardianship, eligibility for quasi-government or private agency benefits, employment, recreation and social skills, independent living, or custodial care.” 

At Geyer & Associates, we agree with Vasileff when she points out that “Divorce attorneys do not always know how child support payments made directly to the custodial parent interact (negatively) with means tested government benefit programs like SSI and Medicaid.”

As a law firm which helps families plan for loved ones with special needs, we are uniquely situated to advise clients in the midst of divorce on how to address support obligations and future needs of disabled beneficiaries in a divorce settlement.

We know that if a client has a child or other loved one with a physical or mental disability, a special needs trust may be a critical piece of his or her estate plan.  We help clients navigate through the complex maze of federal and state laws to provide them with clear solutions to their concerns.  The overall solution may require calling upon the expertise of a family law attorney to meet a client’s objectives, and we operate in a team approach to ensure a successful outcome for our clients.