Financial planning is important at practically every stage of life, but it is especially critical as your family grows. For some, that may include more planning and preparation than others. As a parent of a child with special needs and as someone who is in the business of financial planning, I know and understand first-hand the challenges families face when it comes to planning for special needs kids.
Over the past 13 years, my wife and I have learned a lot about caring for our son, Thomas, which we couldn’t have done without the help of experts along the way. Being in the industry, one could assume that I knew exactly what to do to plan for our and Thomas’ future, but, we learned very quickly the importance of asking for help. It’s frightening to think about a time when my wife and I aren’t around to care for Thomas, but that time will come, and it’ll come for most parents with a special needs child. That’s why it’s crucial to take the time to plan for the future and have peace of mind that your son or daughter will have the necessary resources even when you aren’t able to care for them. The key is to get started.
Here are some of the most important elements of planning for a special needs family:
Ask questions and lean on experts
Surround yourself with a team of experts such as doctors, accountants and attorneys. Don’t be shy, ask lots of questions. Connect with a lawyer who knows the laws of your state and the nuances regarding special needs planning. If you’re unsure, reach out to social service organizations to learn about all the resources available for your family. Never hesitate to ask for help, while it’s daunting, there is a supportive community willing to help and let you know your family isn’t alone.
Create a proper plan
One of the most important things you can do as a parent is create a proper estate plan. With the help of a team of experts, we recently set-up a special needs trust for Thomas. It’s important to realize that you don’t need a large sum of money to set up a trust. However, doing some due diligence and research is required. With the help of a skilled attorney and trust advisor with special needs experience the process can be made easier. Experts who know the distinctions of special needs laws can help you navigate setting up a will, estate plan, trust, life insurance plan and guardianship.
Talk to your family
If you have other children, you may want to discuss plans with them so they know why their sibling is receiving additional attention regarding future plans. Perhaps your adult children want to be involved or be caregivers, ideally this should be discussed in advance rather than putting the onus on them when you’re gone.
Getting started is the most important part of financial planning for a special needs family, but it can also be one of the hardest parts. As a parent who has gone through this process, I would be happy to help navigate this process and connect you with the appropriate experts as needed. Please feel free to contact me at email@example.com or 610-337-7640.
Trust services are offered through Univest Bank and Trust Co. Investment advisory services are offered through Girard Partners, a Univest Wealth Management Firm. These affiliated companies are licensed subsidiaries of Univest Corporation of Pennsylvania. Products and services offered are not FDIC insured, are not a deposit of or bank guaranteed, and are subject to risks, including possible loss of any principal amount invested.
Please note that this communication is for informational purposes only and neither this financial institution nor any of its affiliates give tax or legal advice. Consult a tax advisor regarding what may be best for your personal situation.