1. What is my vision of the legacy which I wish to leave my child (or other family member) with special needs?
2. Have I established proper Wills & Trusts that transform my clear vision into an absolute future reality?
3. Does my Executor/trix or Guardian have a Letter of Intent which outlines my wishes for the future care of this person?
4. Will this Letter of Intent be passed to others who may eventually care for my child, should s/he out-live my second caregiver?
5. Is the Trust endowed with enough money to assure that distributions will not consume their principal throughout the beneficiary's lifetime?
6. Have I insured that caregiving survivors are financially protected from the future expenses in the care of my loved one with special needs?
If you answered "No" to any question, your plan is not complete. We encourage you to seek the answers to all these questions.
Here are a couple of first steps:
1. Identify and prioritize your goals
2. List your resources and expenses, including personal net worth, income sources and earnings, and expenses.
By doing the first two initial steps in the financial planning process prior to the legal planning process, you will at least have a good understanding of your financial situation to help determine the extent of the legal documents required.
These steps will determine whether the value of your assets are large enough to warrant specific estate tax planning techniques in addition to the basic estate planning needs.
Without developing a clear and current picture of your financial matters first, you can end up with inappropriate legal documents being created. This can then lead to the use of inappropriate financial products, and can ultimately lead to unnecessary legal and financial fees.