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How to Invest and Save Money

How to Invest and Save Money

Britt Erica Tunick is an award winning financial journalist who has spent the past 17 years writing about virtually every aspect of finance. She has mastered the art of boiling down complicated financial topics for readers to understand.

Long-Term Planning for Special Needs Children

Long-Term Planning for Special Needs Children

By Britt Erica Tunick

If you are the parent of a special needs child who may never be able to be completely independent, planning isn’t quite as simple as setting aside money for college. You are not only planning for your own retirement, but it also means planning for the care of your child long after you are no longer around.

According to data from the Center for Studying Health System Change, now merged with the Mathematica Policy Research, 18.5% of children under the age of 18 in the United States have special needs –from autism, to muscular dystrophy, Down syndrome and countless other conditions. While the long-term needs of special needs children vary, there are basic things you should consider when planning for their future:

  • The first and probably the most important thing to document in your will is who will be responsible for caring for your child once you are gone. Since this is a major thing to ask of someone, you may not want to leave this responsibility in the hands of a family member or friend and may instead opt for a corporate fiduciary. This is something that should be discussed with family and friends before it is even put into your will.
  • A Letter of Intent allows parents to document the specifics of their child’s condition –from the foods they like, to the basics of their medical coverage, their daily routine and any special behaviors needed to help them in their daily lives. While a Letter of Intent is not legally binding, it is a good way to provide an overview of your child’s situation and to document anything those who care for your child will need to know, such as the eligibility requirements for Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income.
  • A Special Needs Trust is a way of ensuring that a child has money set aside for their day to day needs after you are gone, but without risking their eligibility for Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income. Special Needs Trusts can be funded through family money or through certain types of life insurance policies.
  • These are just some of the things parents of special needs children should consider. Since each child’s situation is unique, you would be well served to meet with a financial advisor or attorney with experience who can help you better navigate long-term planning for a special needs child.

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