The major issue for many families with a family member with a significant disability or mental illness is how their family member will be supported after parents are no longer living.
Special care needs to be taken that parents not leave an inheritance to a child with special needs in ways that jeopardize government funding sources such as Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid. Many persons use some form of a trust to overcome these obstacles.
There is no substitute for a knowledgeable lawyer. The following links give helpful background information in selecting a lawyer who is knowledgeable in this kind of estate planning law.
Special Needs Planning
There are a number of good articles linked to this Financial Planning page (for some reason grouped with “Healthcare”) from Exceptional Parent Magazine. Among the most pertinent are two articles that are also reprinted at the Riverbend Down Syndrome Support Group site.