PLANNING FOR SPECIAL NEEDS CHILDREN

As many parents know, raising a child is expensive. As of 2019, it’s estimated that you will likely spend $233,000, excluding the cost of college, in raising your child. Now double that number, if not more, and you have the cost of raising a special needs child. Even more pressing is that you may need to figure out continual care for after you pass away. It’s not something we want to think about, but FSG wants to help prepare you and your child for the future with four steps you can take today.

Envision a Life Without You
Every special needs child has unique challenges that they will face. Consider what your child will need once you are gone to effectively combat those challenges. Will they require medical treatments? Will your child live alone, or do you need to find suitable care for them? By answering these questions and others like them, you can help prepare for your family’s future.

Plan Your Estate
Make sure you are aware of how you plan to pass your estate, as many choices will affect the Supplemental Security Income or Medicaid of your child. Carefully consider your child’s lifetime needs – you’ll want to make sure the funds that will be given to them will last, and factor in the income or asset limitations of government programs your child may need. Make sure to plan how to pass your property, and regularly update your will to reflect your wishes. Consider the use of a special needs trust, which provides future support for a disabled individual, all while protecting their eligibility for government benefits. To read more about Special Needs Trusts, click here.

Involve Your Family
Your family should be involved in the decision-making process. When possible, this helps unify your family for after your passing, giving support to your child.

Identify a Caregiver
This can be a lengthy process, as you are truly naming a new guardian for your child. You’ll want to start this as soon as possible, and it may be easiest to start via a Letter of Intent. This is a letter that, while not legally binding, does offer you a way to state your wishes and information on how you would like your child to be cared for. Be sure to place this with your will.

Plan Now to Relieve Anxiety

This can be an overwhelming process for many and may be easier with the help of your loved ones and other professionals. At FSG, we understand the pressure parents of special needs children and adults feel daily, and we know that having an estate plan in place relieves the stress of the unknown future.