How to Get Power of Attorney When a Special Needs Child Turns Eighteen

By Contributor

If you are a parent or primary caregiver of a child with developmental disabilities, it is imperative that you file for power of attorney before the child reaches his eighteenth birthday. This assures that the family retains control of the dependent's affairs.

Do some research in your specific area about lawyers and their experience with disabilities law. Don't hesitate to call their office and ask their experience in dealing with special needs children. If you feel a specific lawyer is qualified and you hire them, ask what paperwork you need to bring for your appointment.

Start locating paperwork for the appointment. The general rule of thumb is to provide the birth certificates for the caregiver or parents and the disabled child. This helps confirm that you are legitimate and eligible to file for power of attorney.

Gather and review medical records. This is crucial to help the child receive the benefits they will be entitled to for the remainder of their life. Contact your child's doctor and child psychiatrist and request a letter of diagnosis. This will help establish a basis for the request for power of attorney.

Make a detailed list of all medication the child is currently on. Ask you pharmacy for a print out of the child's current medications. This will be crucial to back up the diagnosis.

Discuss what is happening with your family to prevent any confusion. The lawyer may want to meet the child with disabilities. Before going to the office, attempt to explain to them where you are going. Make your explanation simple and assure them that the lawyer is a friend.

Allow your lawyer to fill out the necessary paperwork and file you request for power of attorney with a local court. This can happen the same day or take several weeks depending on the court's case load.

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