Having children is expensive. But, it’s a different story for families with special needs. The extra costs associated with taking care of children with special needs can be substantial; additional insurance, medical expenses, therapy, and vehicle or home modifications all need to be covered.
Other than those expenses, families with special needs often have to pay a high cost for qualified childcare and adapted recreation activities. Fortunately, there are some financial benefits designed to support families who have kids with special needs. If you’re one of those families, you can also consider specialist financial planning services. To find out more information, read about it here.
If you want to practice your skills or expertise in financial planning, here are some of the tips you may consider:
1. Adult Guardianship
If your children with special needs can’t make their own financial and medical decisions after turning 18, speak with a lawyer about how you can be the legal guardian of your adult child, or obtain a health care proxy and power of attorney. This will allow you make decisions in case of an emergency. Just don’t assume that you have such powers automatically just because your kid is disabled.
Once your children turn 18, they’re considered adults by law. This provides your kid the right to make financial and medical decisions independently. If they’re not capable or require your guidance, your role as proxy – usually alongside power of attorney – gives you say over their healthcare, legal, and financial affairs. Having this kind of arrangement can be useful in helping your autistic children cope with decisions around the current pandemic, for example.
2. Build Your Savings
If you have children with special needs, you need to learn quickly about financial planning because your child may need therapy or treatment that is not covered by your insurance. This is where savings become important.
Start putting aside what you can every month. Take note that there’s no amount too small and once you save regularly, you’ll have money to cover the extra expenses.
Savings may also help pay for special needs advocates, which are the special education professionals who can help you navigate the programs, laws, and paperwork that affect what services your children qualify for. Special needs advocates may save you money in the long run by using their expertise to ensure that your children get the services they’re entitled to from their school districts.
To find advocates in your local area, contact the local organizations that focus on children with disabilities and ask other parents for recommendations.
3. Get Insurance
When it comes to financial planning, if you have children with special needs, you must have a life cover that’s at least 10 times your yearly income, after adjusting for your child’s additional liabilities.
To ensure good cash flow when your children age and you retire, investing in annuity plans that provide payments to the children can be a great option. Also, it’s a good idea to look for some health insurance policies that will cover the needs of your children.
4. Write A Letter Of Intent
Preparing for the financial future of your children with special needs is essential. However, you must ensure that your kid’s daily needs will also be met. This is where a Letter of Intent may come in handy.
List everything included in your child’s daily routine and try to be as detailed as possible with your notes. The same goes for your kid’s weekly, monthly, and yearly schedules. It should also include things that your kid likes or dislikes, and some helpful resources in the community.
You should also make a list of contact details for your child’s therapists, physicians, and medical support professionals. You must also remember to add their current medications and dosages.
Ensure that your letter is updated once a year. It isn’t a formal legal document, so you may create it yourself. Then, keep a copy of it and ensure that your kid’s appointed guardian has a copy as well.
5. Consider A Special Needs Trust (SNT)
Being a beneficiary of your assets may disqualify your kid from getting future assistance from the government programs like Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid. However, as a parent, you can make trusts for your special needs children and leave your assets to the trust. In this way, your child may benefit and qualify for outside assistance.
Once you establish SNT, you should notify your family members. Keeping others aware of it and its purpose may help everybody plan more efficiently and some assets that people may have planned to leave to your children can be left to SNT instead.
When you have kids with special needs, financial planning is never easy. Sometimes, it can be emotional, uncomfortable, and frustrating. However, being proactive and addressing doubts will help ensure that you and your kids are well-cared for, financially and physically. A great way to get started is to speak with trusted professionals who can give advice and resources tailored to your situation.