Sharing Our Moment in the Spotlight

Posted by Haddad Nadworny on Sat, Oct 21, 2017 @ 07:07 AM

The Special Needs Financial Planning Team  Cynthia Haddad, CFP | John  Nadworny, CFP | Alexandria Nadworny, CFP  We are committed to offering educational workshops to organizations and parent  groups.  Please call Alex or click here to attend a workshop or discuss a presentation  to your group.Our Next Workshop: Wednesday, October 25- Having the Talk- click here for the flyer.

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Investment News, a widely read and long-standing premiere publication of the financial advisory profession, devoted their September 18, 2017 issue to planning for people with disabilities.

While doing their research, the editors of Investment News found us, chose to feature us on the cover of their publication and made a video of our personal and professional stories for their website.

 We are proud to share the video with you today. The 6-minute video may show you a side of us you do not know!

Click here or on the photo above to view our video and please share it with others!

 

 

Tags: Special Needs Financial Planning

Shepherd Financial’s John Nadworny quoted in the New York Times

Posted by Patty Manko on Tue, Mar 31, 2015 @ 03:04 PM

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We congratulate our colleague John Nadworny for being a resource for and quoted in an article about financial planning for people with special needs in Saturday’s New York Times (March 28, 2015).  To read the article, click here

 

We include the following disclosure as we do not control the information in this article. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual, nor intended as tax or legal advice. There is no assurance that the techniques and strategies discussed are suitable for all individuals or will yield positive outcomes. Investing involves risk including loss of principal. 

Prior to investing in an ABLE account investors should consider whether the investor's or designated beneficiary's home state offers any state tax or other benefits that are only available for investments in such state's ABLE program. Please consult with your tax advisor before investing.

Note that when distributing for non-qualified expenses, the pro-rata portion of the earnings attributable to the non-qualified expenses are subject to tax plus a 10 percent penalty.

Insurance guarantees are based on the claims paying ability of the issuing company. Individual results will vary.

 

Tags: Special Needs Financial Planning

How to Talk about the Money When Planning for the Future

Posted by Patty Manko on Thu, Sep 04, 2014 @ 09:24 AM

dad talk resized 600There are many ways to discuss your vision and your finances. It is often easiest to begin this process in a gradual manner and in an informal environment. Although it is important to have all family members in agreement, scheduling initial discussions in a formal meeting or large family setting is not always the best.

We recommend speaking to one child at a time, to get their feelings about their willingness to help. This will give them the opportunity to share ideas with you rather than you telling them what you hope will happen. Remember, caring for a family member with disabilities is a lifetime commitment that you do not want to force on anyone, yet it is important for them to know your intentions.

After everyone has had an opportunity to discuss their feelings and ideas in an informal way, you may wish to plan a discussion with everyone at once.  Since every family’s dynamics are unique, you will find the best way to communicate with your family.

The following steps should help to move the communication process along smoothly:

  • Share your vision
  • Talk about the amount of money you plan to have available to support your vision. You do not have to reveal all of your financial matters. You can choose to only mention the financial aspects that pertain to the needs of the family member with a disability.
  • Determine the best person to take on each role. For example, who is the best with finances? That person may be a good trustee or trust advisor of a Special Needs Trust. Who is most involved in the day to day life of the child? That person may be a good guardian.
  • Ask family members if they feel able to perform their roles independently. If not,design your plan to give them resources to work with. For example, let them know that they could hire an investment advisor to help with the trust management or a social worker to help oversee supports.

In our combined 30-plus years of planning, one of the biggest obstacles that we have encountered is that people do not feel comfortable talking about how much money they have. Even professionals in the field of providing services to families, including government agency employees that serve families, do not feel comfortable talking about money or the specific costs of providing services to individuals with disabilities. 

SNP STORY:

Although Charles is receiving all the benefits that he is eligible for and living independently, we feel that it is not enough for him to simply have what the government provides. We supplement his expenses by about $1,000 a month. This gives him the sense of self-worth and control to be able to do what he likes rather than do what someone else wants him to do. He has schizophrenia and his sense of self-worth is most important to his ability to function in life. In working with our financial planner and our attorney, we made arrangements for our other son to provide this supplement to support Charles’ needs without jeopardizing his government benefits when we are no longer able to. 

-- Charles’ father

Sometimes parents feel that they must treat all of their children equally. They feel that their children expect it. However, in many cases children without disabilities are more than willing to forego any type of inheritance to guarantee security for their brother or sister with  a disability. They understand the financial realities and would rather make sure their brother or sister is taken care of and would not expect that everything is shared equally.

One of the first steps that is required for you to be able to achieve financial security for your child is to overcome the reluctance to discuss the issues of money. We all know it takes money to provide services, staff, housing expenses, employment supports, transportation, education, health care services and the like. We also know that the government does not have an endless supply of money to fund these services.

So how do we determine how much money is needed? And how much is too much? Just as the educational needs of every child are unique, so are the long-term planning needs of every individual with special needs. Even two individuals with a similar medical and/or cognitive diagnosis, can have significantly different support requirements. With these varying requirements, costs will also vary. There is no clear answer; the best we can do is to maximize all resources and coordinate all of the Five Factors.That is why it is so important to have a comprehensive plan and to reevaluate it periodically.

Download our Special Needs Planning Checklist

Tags: Special Needs Financial Planning, five factors of financial planning, financial planning

Special Needs Planning in the Spotlight

Posted by Patty Manko on Fri, Feb 28, 2014 @ 02:30 PM

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We are here to help.
We craft individualized  solutions for  people with disabilities.

Tags: Special Needs Financial Planning

Using the Letter of Intent to Plan for Your Child Today

Posted by Patty Manko on Thu, Oct 24, 2013 @ 05:15 PM

describe the imageFinancing Your Vision for Your Child: Using the Letter of Intent to Plan for the Future Today

The Letter of Intent (LOI) has long been utilized as a tool to guide guardians, trustees, siblings and others to care for your dependent child when you, as parents, are unable to do so. In many cases, it contains detailed information that only a parent would know about their child’s history and personal preferences. In every case, it is a document that views the child’s life today and in the future through the eyes of his or her parents or guardians.

The actual composition of the LOI requires gathering and recording the people, places and services relating to your child. It also involves sorting out one’s feelings and defining expectations when thinking about the future for your child with spe- cial needs. Every child is unique and this document will be unique: it should be flexible, clear and personal.

Asking the Right Questions
The art of successful planning involves knowing the right questions to ask, not just working with data. Since developing the Five Factors of comprehensive special needs planning, we have organized the content of our LOI based upon these key
elements in planning for your child’s future. Many families need a catalyst to en- courage them to begin the planning process. An LOI can act as this catalyst by ask- ing thought provoking questions. The LOI and your overall plan needs to be peri- odically reviewed and revised and it is important to provide your child’s future caregiver with an updated copy.

Financing Your Vision
Although completing an LOI is a crucial step in assuring the care and wellbeing of your child should you die, this document may also serve a very important function while you are alive. The LOI may be used as a basis for financial planning to achieve your vision for your child today.

Download a letter of intent by clicking on the image below.

 Receive a comprehensive  template for your  Letter of Intent

 

Tags: Special Needs Financial Planning, Letter of Intent

Planning for a Child with Special Needs in Divorce

Posted by Patty Manko on Mon, Sep 09, 2013 @ 04:04 PM

divorce and special needs child resized 600Finding a fair and equitable agreement when parties are divorcing is often a challenge. When parents of a child with special needs separate and divorce, the challenge is magnified. Based upon both our personal and professional experience, it is critical to bring parents into agreement on a plan that does not take sides, but focuses on representing the needs of their child.

This means planning for families with unique sets of circumstances. We can help. 

  • Based upon our understanding of the obstacles children with special needs may have in growing up, we can describe and define the needs of the child.
  • Based upon the child’s unique situation, we can quantify the amount of financial support necessary to meet these needs, for the short- and long-term.
  • We will connecting parents, when interested, with various agencies that provide support services.
  • We inform parents about available government programs.
Importantly, we not only define the need but can work with the parties to realistically plan and make it achievable.

 We welcome an opportunity to discuss how our services can help in cases of divorce  and provide the best plan for a child’s lifetime supports.  As a basic resource not customized for families of individuals with special needs, download the pre-divorce checklist below.

Download our Pre-Divorce Planning Checklist

Tags: Special Needs Financial Planning, supports for special needs, siblings, Divorce, Government Benefits, special needs Divorce

Guardianship Considerations for Individuals with Disabilities

Posted by Patricia Manko on Thu, Jul 11, 2013 @ 01:47 PM

describe the imageGuardianship is a legal means of protecting children and  "incompetent adults" (in legal terms, adults who cannot take care of themselves, make decisions that are in their own best interest, or handle their assets due to a physical or mental disability). When the court determines that a person is incapable of handling either their personal or financial affairs a guardian will be appointed.

The subject of guardianship for an adult child with disabilities is of concern to most parents. Parents of children with severe disabilities often assume that they can continue to be their adult child's legal guardian during the child's entire life.

Although it may be obvious to a parent that a child does not have the capacity to make informed decisions, legally an adult is presumed competent unless otherwise determined to be incompetent after a competency proceeding. Once an individual reaches the age of 18, the parent is no longer the individual's legal guardian. Parents need to explore legal options available to protect their child from unscrupulous individuals who may exploit their child's inability to make informed choices.

Download a template for your Letter of Intent

Some things to know when considering guardianship:

a. A guardian of the person is responsible for monitoring the care of the person with disabilities to ensure that the individual is receiving proper care and supervision. The guardian is responsible for decisions regarding most medical care, education, and vocational issues.

b. A guardian of the estate or conservatorship should be considered for a person with disabilities who is unable to manage their finances and have income from sources other than benefit checks, or have other assets and/or property.

c. A guardianship may be limited to certain areas of decision making, such as decisions about medical treatment or medications in order to allow the individual to continue making their own decisions in all other areas.

d. A temporary guardian or conservator may be appointed in an emergency situation when certain decisions must be made immediately.

If an individual with a disability is capable of making some but not all decisions, one or more of the alternatives to guardianship discussed here should be considered. These alternatives to guardianship are listed from least restrictive to most restrictive:

1. A joint bank account can be created to prevent rash expenditures. Arrangements can be made with most banks for benefits checks, such as Social Security or SSI payments, to be sent directly to the bank for deposit. (Remember to keep this account balance below $2,000.)

2. A representative payee can be named to manage the funds of a person with a disability who receives benefits checks from Social Security, Railroad Retirement, or the Veterans Benefits Administration. Benefits checks are sent to the representative payee.

3. A durable power of attorney (POA) for property is a legal document that grants one person the legal authority to handle the financial affairs of another. Generally, the use of a POA should be used when the individual with disabilities has the capacity to make basic meaningful decisions and does not require full guardianship but may not be able to make complex financial decisions without support.

4. A durable POA for health care, also known as a health care proxy, should be considered for individuals who are presently capable of making decisions about their health care and wish to anticipate possibly future incompetence.

5. An appointment of advocate and authorization allows a person with a disability to designate an agent to advocate on his or her behalf with administrative agencies such as the state department of cognitive disability, the department of mental health services, or the department of medical assistance.

6. Trusts may be an appropriate alternative to appointment of guardian in some circumstances. A trust is a legal plan for placing funds and other assets in the control of a trustee for the benefit of an individual with a disability - or even for those with no known disability.

7. As mentioned previously, guardianship is an option for persons who, because of mental illness, developmental disability, or physical disability, lack sufficient understanding or capacity to make or communicate responsible decisions concerning their care and financial affairs. Guardians are approved and appointed by the court. Guardianships are also supervised by the court. The guardian provides a report on the status of the individual to the court annually.

In general, the guardian or conservator is responsible for handling the individual's financial resources, but is not personally financially responsible for them from his or her own resources.

This list of alternatives to guardianship is not exhaustive, but worth speaking with an attorney about. As with all legal decisions, we suggest you seek legal advice from an attorney who is knowledgeable in disability law in the individual's state of residence.

Contact us for  further information

Tags: Special Needs Financial Planning, Special Needs Trusts, guardianship, special needs Letter of Intent

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