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Special Needs Planning

Coming from a family passionate about helping disabled individuals, one of Phil's consulting focus is on planning for parents with special needs children to provide peace of mind in a changing landscape.
As your representative, he will analyze areas such as:

  • Estate Planning Tactics with Special Needs Trusts
  • Maintaining and Applying for Government Benefits
  • Wealth Accumulation and Continued Savings
  • Retirement Planning
  • Retirement Distribution
  • Wealth Protection

An integral step in the planning process is to ensure that your family member is financially secure, especially when you are no longer there to be an advocate, and to maximize all resources available to him/her. This financial stability could be achieved through a Special Needs Trust.

A Special Needs Trust is created for the benefit of a dependent with a special need or disability. This trust has several functions, two of which are paramount:

  • A properly prepared Special Needs Trust can preserve the beneficiary's eligibility for public benefits such as Social Security, Medicaid, housing and other government funded programs.
  • A Special Needs Trustee can manage funds for your loved one who is not able to accumulate or manage his/her own funds due to a disability.

Funding the Trust
In addition to creating the trust document, proper funding is essential. Your personal and family situation may dictate certain approaches.

  • First, you can fund the trust during your life with personal assets.
  • Second, you can fund it at your death with your estate assets.
  • Third, you can fund it at your death with life insurance proceeds.

Points to Consider
When planning the financial well-being of a loved one with disabilities, it is important to:

  • Consider whether or not your current plan is appropriate for both your current situation and your future needs.
  • Think about how you will fund the trust.
  • Examine the overall impact of your plan on your estate, and any effect on potential eligibility for federal aid and taxes.
  • Seek help from a Special Needs Family Planning professional and develop a plan based on your family's specific situation.
  • Thoughtfully consider the choice of trustee, guardian and conservator.

Team of Professionals
Special needs planning can be complex, so it is important to understand the team of professionals you should work with for proper planning. This team should include a:

  • Financial Professional: Responsible for ensuring that the Special Needs Trust is funded with the proper assets and that those assets are managed.
  • Trustee(s): Consult(s) with both the lawyer and financial professional on how to best implement your wishes when you create the trust so as to distribute the assets in the special needs child's best interest.
  • Lawyer: Responsible for forming the most appropriate type of Special Needs Trust and making sure that it is properly drafted.