As siblings of someone with a severe disability, you may have grown up watching your parents devote themselves to your brother’s or sister’s special needs without giving much thought to what life would be life for your family in the future.  For some, it can come as quite a shock to learn their parents have not prepared for their disabled child’s care or needs.  When parents don’t make plans for their special need’s child, siblings and other family members can find themselves in a tough predicament.  Here are some steps you and your family can take to mitigate the situation and help ensure your sibling gets the care he or she needs:

Have a Family Meeting

Once everyone has recovered from the news, you will need to meet with all family members who are involved in your sibling’s life.  If he or she already has Medi-Cal and SSI and is residing within a facility, your family may need to learn more about his or her living situation and how it is being funded.  If the individual was residing with your deceased parents, your family will need to have a frank discussion about where your sibling can live.  It’s important to have this talk and figure out if you are all on the same page about your sister’s or brother’s care. Additionally, you will need to be able to identify what joint funds and resources you have to work with.

 

Meet with a Special Needs Planning Attorney

If your parent’s lack of planning has blindsided you, it can be overwhelming and challenging to know where to begin.  It would be a good idea to sit down with a special needs planning attorney who can help you evaluate your situation and explain the different legal decisions which will need to be made.

Special Needs Planning

Taking on the care of a severely disabled individual without advanced warning is a huge personal and financial commitment which many people are not in a position to make.  Although you love your sibling, it may not be in his or her best interests or even realistic for you to become his or her caregiver.  However, Medi-Cal and other California programs may offer living and care solutions.  You and other family members can combine your efforts to research programs.  Additionally, you could establish and start funding a special needs trust for your sibling, which can pay for their extra expenses without risking his or her eligibility for public benefits.

While finding yourself in this situation is not ideal, there are steps you can take to help provide for your sibling.  At the Law Office of Alice Salvo, we have experience helping family’s plan for their loved one’s care and can help. Schedule a consultation today to explore your options and make informed decisions for your sibling. /