If you have a special needs child or grandchild, planning becomes especially important.
We have special needs children in my own family; and we’re far from alone. If you’re a family dealing with this issue, there are some things that can’t be ignored.
To a large degree, the answer to the headline question will depend on the steps you begin taking today in order to arrange for your child’s future well being.
Planning for special needs children is a complex process that begins with an initial assessment. In planning for your special needs child, there are certain initial steps you should take, such as:
1. Assess your child’s prognosis: Will your child ever be able to earn a living…manage assets…live independently? Your evaluation of issues such as these will then guide you in the type of planning you need to complete in order to provide for your child. If you’re unsure about your child’s future prognosis, be conservative in your assumptions. You can always change your plans in the future.
2. Review your financial situation: What assets do you have available to provide for your child’s future financial needs? What can you do to accumulate additional assets for your child’s care?
3. Living arrangements: Where do you want your child to live after your death, or if you become physically unable to care for your child? Will your child need a guardian (or conservator)?
4. Government benefits: Do you know what government benefits are available and what the requirements are to qualify for these benefits? Government benefits and their requirements can play a major role in your child’s future well being. Be aware, however, that improper or careless planning could make your child ineligible for certain benefits.
Government benefits fall into two groups:
Entitlement Programs: Eligibility for entitlement programs is based on meeting certain requirements, such as age, disability or blindness. An individual who, for example, meets the required definition of disability is entitled to receive benefits, regardless of that individual’s financial situation.
Needs-Based Programs: In order to receive benefits from a needs-based program, a disabled individual cannot have income or assets above stated amounts.
Putting your child on a firm, secure footing is all about your own planning preparation. Maybe this Special Needs Life Guide will help. It’s fillable, so you can use it and save it to your own computer.
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Jim Lorenzen is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professional and An Accredited Investment Fiduciary® in his 21st year of private practice as Founding Principal of The Independent Financial Group, a fee-only registered investment advisor with clients located across the U.S.. He is also licensed for insurance as an independent agent under California license 0C00742. IFG helps specializes in crafting wealth design strategies around life goals by using a proven planning process coupled with a cost-conscious objective and non-conflicted risk management philosophy.
The Independent Financial Group does not provide legal or tax advice and nothing contained herein should be construed as securities or investment advice, nor an opinion regarding the appropriateness of any investment to the individual reader. The general information provided should not be acted upon without obtaining specific legal, tax, and investment advice from an appropriate licensed professional.