Mr. and Mrs. Paul have considered the need to plan for the future of their two children. Jane, their oldest child, is an associate professor at a small private college and has had some success with investments she made soon after graduating from college. John, a year younger than Jane, never completed college, is disabled with severe paranoid schizophrenia and is living in a group home funded by public benefits. He also receives SSI and Medicaid.
The Paul’s current estate plans include a simple will leaving two-thirds of their modest estate of $400,000 to John since he is obviously more in need of their assistance. Fortunately, while attending a local NAMI seminar on the subject of Special Needs Estate Planning, the Pauls learn that leaving an inheritance to their son in this way would create more problems for John than it would solve. If John receives this direct inheritance, he would have more than $2,000 in assets and be disqualified from receiving needed benefits from certain government programs, such as SSI and, possibly, Medicaid.
Many NAMI families face the challenge of planning for a loved one disabled with a severe mental illness. Families need to have a comprehensive financial and legal plan. It takes commitment to do the specialized planning necessary to ensure the continuation of the quality of their loved one’s care when they are no longer around to provide for it directly.
This site contains information to assist families in understanding the process and working with qualified attorneys, as well as state specific information, resources, and protocols.