Financial Planning for Your Special-Needs Child

 - Insurance - Eric Felt Insurance - Financial Planning for Your Special-Needs Child

Mapping out a financial plan for a special-needs child takes time, and checking off these six steps early might bring peace of mind down the road:

1. Create a special-needs trust.
This is where you can place savings, gifts of money to your child, or monies from an insurance settlement. It won’t interfere with your child’s eligibility for federal benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

2. Write a will.
A will specifies what you wish to be done with your assets upon your death. Without a will, a probate judge could name your child as a beneficiary, which would make your child ineligible for federal benefits.

3. Name a guardian.
A guardian will care for your child in the event you die before he or she turns 18 and becomes legally an adult. The person you select as guardian should be named within a legal document.

4. Name a trustee.
A trustee will be responsible for managing your child’s special-needs trust upon your death. It can be a family member, friend, professional trustee, or even a bank or lawyer.

5. Write a letter of intent.
Is your child’s daily routine very important? Write down things that are particular to your child, and provide specific details. Do this for weekly and monthly schedules, things that your child likes and dislikes, plus helpful resources in the community.

6. Apply for guardianship or power of attorney.
Once children turn 18, they’re considered adults in the eyes of the law. If your special-needs child is not capable of making medical and financial decisions or needs your guidance, consider assuming legal guardianship or power of attorney and health-care proxy.