Special Needs Planning

If you have a child or loved one with a physical, mental or intellectual disability, or a chronic or acquired illness, there are raised concerns with their ability to be financially secure and independent as an adult. Special needs planning is critical to preserve funds for a child in a manner that will not result in losing means-tested government benefits, typically Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Ohio has a strong third-party trust option called a wholly discretionary trust for parents or anyone creating a trust for a disabled individual. Additionally, there are other state and federal trusts available depending upon the needs of the family and child.

An ABLE account is a savings account that permits a disabled individual to save money without jeopardizing government benefits. I counsel clients on the use of ABLE accounts alone or in conjunction with trusts.

One issue common with children with special needs is their tough transition with change, and difficulty with disruptions to routine. This is a factor for almost all parents of children on the autism spectrum and children with other special needs, and the death of a parent with the inevitable change in circumstances creates fear for their child struggling with transition, above much else. For these reasons, I provide clients with my Lifecare Guide©. The Guide is a comprehensive set of instructions, descriptions of routines, listing of likes and dislikes, wishes of the parents on everything from education aspirations to religion. The goal is to have the Guide serve as the parent’s words to their child’s guardian to ease transition and allow the guardian to more fully step into the shoes of the parents.