Planning for the future well-being of your children is a difficult task for any parent. Add the complexity of adequately providing for the future care of a child with special needs and the process becomes even more challenging.
Any special needs plan requires thought and multiple use of resources. Many of us say. “Where do we start”? The answer is based on your child’s diagnosis, age, family situation and other factors. There is however a core guide that we believe can assist any parent of a child with special needs to help you work through the process.
The list below is not a complete list but ten steps to help caregivers get started in preparing for the financial future of their dependent with special needs.
1. Understand The Process Is Different – It is important to understand that traditional financial planning advice may not work for your family. There are professionals in the area of special needs planning that can assist you legally in developing an appropriate plan. Start by thinking about what your child’s needs will be in the future.
2. Set up a plan for education, medical and housing needs –Start by identifying what your child’s future needs will be and develop a strategy based on those projections.
3. Create a team to assist you with the planning. It is important to have a support team working with you financially, educationally, legally and medically. This team can guide you through the variety of options you have available for you and your family.
4. Set up a Special Needs Trust funded with Life Consider setting up a special needs trust which allows a caregiver a way to provide for their dependents care without disqualifying them for federal assistance. Trusts can be the beneficiary of a life insurance policy for the benefit of your child.
5. Identify a Guardian. If you are no longer able to care for your child, who will? Designate in writing a guardian for your child in the event of your death.
6. Apply for All State and Federal programs for your disabled child. Contact Social Security and other government support services such as Medicaid (www.ssa.gov)
7. Review all Beneficiary Designations – Check with family members to see if they have left your child assets in their name. (Life insurance, savings, cash etc) To continue to receive federal benefits, your dependent must not have more than $2,000.
8. Reevaluate Your Own Financial Plan – Make sure you have adequate funds available to provide for your child. Make sure those funds are protected so government benefits are not affected. Reevaluate your own personal life insurance and disability income coverage.
9. Prepare a Letter of Intent for the individual who will be providing care to your child when you are no longer able to. It can provide directions on day-to-day routines.
10. Being Prepared Is Half The Victory – Remember to embrace the milestones and victories each day brings with your wonderful child.
We are here for you and your family!
Let us help provide peace of mind for your family. For more information on Whole Life, Disability, Critical Illness and Accident Insurance contact PFP | The Family Security Plan® at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 855-789-4976 to speak with a dedicated PFP | The Family Security Plan® Representative.
Written by Robin Fox, RHU, CSA