These core planning points are by no means an exhaustive list. They will provide a baseline of what should be considered in special needs planning for every stage. Think of them as the basics you need to consider regardless of the age of your family member. They should of course be reexamined from time to time to be certain the recommendations stay current with your own family's needs.
- REVIEW your current estate plan -at least every five years.
- CREATE a Special Needs Trust. It is most important to understand that establishing a special needs trust does not guarantee your loved one will be cared for. The trust provides the framework or structure but the money used to fund the trust is what provides the security.
- NAME a guardian for your child or children in the event of your premature death or disability.
- CHECK beneficiary designations on all life insurance, retirement plan accounts and annuities. These include employer benefit plans too.
GOVERNMENT BENEFIT FACTORS:
- ADVOCATE for your child. Join forces with your state & local advocacy agencies.
- KNOW and pursue your child's legal rights and entitlements.
- MAINTAIN eligibility for your child's government benefits at all times, even if they are not currently receiving them.
- APPLY for Social Security Survivor's benefits promptly when a parent of a child with a disability dies.
- HELP your other children to meet and talk with children similar in age who also have a sibling with disabilities.
- SEEK professional help when you need it.
- BE PATIENT with yourself, your spouse and your family.
- LEARN as much as you can about your child's diagnosis and abilities.