Saturday, November 12, 2011

Planning for the Future

This past Tuesday I was fortunate enough to attend a Parent Seminar put on by The Bell Center. This particular seminar focused on financial planning for your child with special needs. I am so glad I went. I had no idea how complex planning for the future really is. I really wish more parents would have attended.

One of the biggest pieces of information I learned (in my opinion) is how it is a bad idea to leave anything in the child, with special needs, name. Actually it isn't just a bad idea. It is a terrible, no good, very bad, don't you dare do it idea. Why? Well, if the said child (hopefully adult by then) has $1 more than $2000 in assets, they are disqualified from government assistance. As in no Medicare or Social Security, no government assistance with group housing, transportation, etc. Nothing. Nada. Trust me, we don't want that.

You may be wondering (or not) what qualifies as an asset. Pretty much anything with a cash value; examples include car, house, savings bond, cash, etc. It's just a good idea to assume that nothing, absolutely nothing should be left in the child's name. Instead, it should be left for the child, in a Special Needs Trust.

Which leads me to my next bit of new information, the Special Needs Trust. I had never heard of this before. Not surprising, considering I've never really considered the future. Instead of leaving insurance, money, etc in the child's name, we will set up a Special Needs Trust to be managed on her behalf. The trust will then be able to provide extra care and support beyond that which will provided by the local, state and governmental programs.

The above just touches on a couple of things I learned in the Seminar. Once John returns from Maine, and we get back into the swing of things, we will be sitting down with some professionals (Attorney and Financial Planner, specializing in Special Needs) and mapping out a plan. I'm so glad I learned of all this now, so that we can begin to get the ball rolling. As we all know, none of us are guaranteed tomorrow. I want to make sure Delilah had the best possible life, even when we aren't around.

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