Of all the innumerable challenges faced by Indiana families that include a member with special needs, perhaps the most profound involves how that particular loved one will receive appropriate care once their parents have passed away. The good news is that by applying some sound financial planning strategies designed to meet these very unique requirements, it is possible for all involved to have the peace of mind they need and deserve.
Crafting a winning special needs estate plan
Estate planning is a critical endeavor for most people, but it assumes an even greater importance when it comes to providing for a special needs family member for the entirety of his or her life. As such, there are some essential steps that parents and caregivers should take years before a special needs framework absolutely has to be in place, and these include:
- Assessing current family finances
- Defining educational and care goals for special needs family members
- Creating a letter of intent outlining wishes and care requirements
- Considering a purchase of a life insurance policy for the loved one’s benefit
- Establish a first- or third-party special needs trust
The key to fostering financial stability well into the future for a special needs loved one is to tackle the aforementioned tasks proactively and well in advance so that resources are available when they are needed most.
Getting the details right
While the process of outlining caregiver and lifestyle wishes for a special needs relative’s future is certainly a top priority, it is equally vital to make sure that financial arrangements made in advance are done in full compliance with all legal requirements. This is especially true in terms of special needs trusts designed to get navigate around the income limits placed on the disbursement of government benefits such as those that come from Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income.
It is assuredly difficult for parents and siblings to envision a time when they may not be around to provide the type of support for a special needs relative that they historically have, but with a bit of foresight and sound planning, they can enjoy the confidence that comes from knowing that their legacy of love and concern for that individual will endure after they have gone.