WILLS, TRUSTS, AND ESTATE PLANNING: A GUIDE FOR PEOPLE WITH
DISABILITIES AND THEIR FAMILIES
(Authored by Paul C. Strickland and Michelle Moro of Siskinds LLP)
Families are very familiar with positive planning processes that are focused on helping their
child with disabilities to have a good life. You may have had help by many people in your
unique situation to develop a good plan: extended family and friends, members of your child’s
support circle, other families in similar circumstances, or facilitators.
In order for your plan to continue after you are gone, it is also necessary to develop a will and
estate plan. Your lawyer’s responsibility is to help you understand how certain legal tools can
help you to attain the goals of your child’s plan. However, it is you - the family of the child with
disabilities - that knows and understands what you need and want for your child. Remember that
your lawyer can only help you to be protected by the law by assisting you to have the right
documents in place, and it is your responsibility to give your lawyer all the information needed
so that your wishes are carried out. Being well prepared when you meet with your lawyer will
save your lawyer’s time and your money.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU MEET WITH YOUR LAWYER?
How can you be prepared?
Lawyers have such tools as Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney for Personal Care and Property,
which can be used to assist parents in providing for their child with disabilities. Before meeting a
lawyer to discuss your will and estate plan, you need to prepare yourself with:
• an understanding of the abilities and the challenges of your child
• a recognition of what parents are required to do on a daily basis in order to implement the plan
• an understanding that the plan must be designed so it can be continued when parents are no
longer here to perform all of the duties and tasks that enable the plan to thrive
• an understanding that there will be a financial cost to pay for the continuation of some