With each passing election season, the conversations about the cost of government-provided health care and Social Security get more urgent. But debates about the deserving and the undeserving and the proper level of budgets and taxes tend to gloss over the issue of disabled people — many of whom must hope that the programs they rely on are not cut, because they have no way to make up the difference.
Have you heard that the best defense is a strong offense? So it is with making long-term plans for family members with special needs. In the end, such family members will be okay and you will have peace of mind.
Unfortunately, few parents of children with special needs fully appreciate what is at stake and how to protect it. To make matters worse, too few professional financial planners are versed on the need to provide a long-term solution for such children, especially with shrinking public assistance benefits.
The New York Times recently provided a mini-primer of sorts on the subject titled “Assuring Care of a Family Member With Special Needs.” While proper planning will vary from one family to another, given different needs, there are many tools to employ ranging from special needs trusts to life insurance. The key is to know which ones to use.
As the article notes, special needs planning is only going to grow in importance as funds available for public assistance programs – Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, etc. – become more restricted and uncertain.
You can also friend me on my office's Facebook page (R Christine Brown). I post information and interesting articles I come across on elder law and estate planning topics every day.
I also have a video on special needs planning which may be of interest to you or someone you know, feel free to share (its on YouTube).
Reference: The New York Times (October 5, 2012) “Assuring Care of a Family Member With Special Needs”