An Unexpected Caregiver Brings Joy to All

Posted by Haddad Nadworny on Fri, Sep 03, 2021 @ 08:30 AM

The Special Needs Financial Planning Team John Nadworny, CFP, CTFA | Cynthia Haddad, CFP, ChSNC | Alexandria  Nadworny, CFP, CTFA

Our educational outreach continues via webinar throughout the time of the  pandemic. Please contact Alex Nadworny via email - - to discuss an online presentation to your group.

Please enjoy this story about how the success of an unlikely caregiver made for an amazing summer experience for everyone involved. There are Planning Pointers at the end of the story to help parents on their own journey. 

Susan, James' Mom

John and SusanWhen an invitation arrived from one of our very favorite people, our Polish exchange student Karolina, my husband John and I wanted to figure out how we could travel to Warsaw to celebrate her nuptials with her.  Planning a getaway and care for our son James, no matter the length of time, is always a logistical challenge and a complicated process in our house. The addition of Covid and no day program (with none in sight) for James made a difficult situation even harder. 

Thinking creatively was key. Our son, Ben, and daughter, Alex, wouldn’t be available as they both work full time, so we needed care during the day. My mind immediately jumped to John’s brother, Ed.

John was at first reluctant to consider Ed , as he viewed asking Ed to care for James as an imposition and didn’t want to make him feel uncomfortable. James is an adult, and mostly nonverbal, and his care requires three square meals, medication, patience with the boundary testing he would most likely provoke and assistance/cueing with his hygiene and bedtime routine. Ed is retired and had spent six weeks with us the previous summer, which we all enjoyed. He checked the important boxes of having time and he loving his nephew. Although Ed has plenty of talents, we weren’t sure if caring for someone else was one of them. Previously, this was not part of Ed’s perceived repertoire of skills - or so he thought.

Given our limited – make that non-existent – alternatives, she figured no harm, no foul and picked up the phone to call him.  

Ed, James' Uncle

Ed and James at the beachI actually thought Susan was joking when she asked me if I would watch James. I hadn’t cared for anyone for more than an afternoon in over 25 years!  At first, I didn’t respond to her request. However, the thought of spending time with James became less daunting the more I thought about it, to the point where I told John I’d do it. From previous encounters, I already knew that James is a hoot! We’d have a good time while John and Susan went overseas for a brief vacation.

I went to their home in Gloucester a few days before they were planning to leave for some “basic training.” Preparing the meals, remembering his meds and sticking to his schedule were easy since I like to cook and James always enjoys everything on his plate. The nighttime routine of showering, shaving and tooth brushing was a different story. This is my brother’s “alone time” with James. John's practice was to drive the process while James went along for the ride. After getting Susan’s nod of approval, I decided to do a few things differently by making James take a more active role. I thought, "Let the fun begin!"

The first night was rough, a battle of wits! James is really intuitive. He can read a situation very well and apparently saw me as a push over. Normally James is told to “wrap it up” and he marches upstairs without delay. With me, that alone took us 15 minutes. We argued about the temperature of the shower for another 10 minutes. I expected him to wash himself completely. That took some serious encouragement but…he did it. I shaved him and he brushed his teeth. Day 1 took about an hour.

Day 2 was a breeze. It became more of a game with him. I said yes, he said no and we both laughed (a lot!) before he complied. In fact, he got pretty good at brushing his top teeth. That was huge! The nights that followed went great. We created our own routines as our relationship blossomed. We spent time at the beach jousting back and forth over things like him wearing his hat and drinking bottle after bottle of water. He laughed at me as I sang to his music of choice for 2021, 70s Rock. I laughed at him as he participated in virtual Dance Parties. He helped me yell at Roxy (their chihuahua). We bonded as we pushed each other, and grew.

I appreciate youLast year, the weeks I spent in Massachusetts with James, John and Susan were a lot of fun. This year, the 4 weeks I spent with them were also fun but the time I spent with James this summer was unforgettable. He is an amazing individual, full of happiness and love. I understand he enjoys his routines, but I also believe he liked to change things up a bit as well. I’ll be trying to convince John and Susan to go away again next year.

Our takeaway:

There is joy in asking, and joy in saying yes. We each gained a greater understanding of and love for each other with this experience.  We celebrate John and Susan’s ability to travel, James' independence and yes, Ed can add caring to his long list of skills. We all won and it started with an ask.

Planning Pointers:

Family and Support are one of the Five Factors of Special Needs Planning  for an individual. Along with this story, you may find it helpful to keep these tips in mind when considering caregiving for your child.

  1. Always keep an open mind when thinking about possible support people.
  2. Create opportunities for people to get to know your child.
  3. The formal check list of criteria required of a caregiver may be secondary to a person having a relationship with your child.
  4. Both a parent and potential caregiver should be willing to take some measured risks.
  5. Don’t shy away from talking with and asking a person to be a potential caregiver for your child; you will never get to “yes” unless you ask!

Related resource:




Tags: supports for special needs, parents of people with disabilities, caregivers for special needs, families with special needs

Your Child is Turning 18?  Important To-Do's

Posted by Haddad Nadworny on Sat, Jun 19, 2021 @ 07:00 AM

The Special Needs Financial Planning Team at Affinia Financial Group John Nadworny, CFP, CTFA | Cynthia Haddad, CFP, ChSNC | Alexandria Nadworny,  CFP, CTFA


Turning 18 - Important To-Do's

Congratulations on your child's upcoming 18th birthday!   This is an opportune moment to work on planning for your child's future for when they turn 18, they are no longer legally considered a "child".

It is now time to formulate plans for: 

  • Implementing guardianship or a less restrictive alternative to guardianship.
  • Maintaining eligibility for government benefits, whether you plan to use them or not.
  • The future transition from school to adult services. 

Here are some specific suggestions for parents to consider once guardianship has been finalized. 

  1. Begin implementation of Guardianship or an Alternative to Guardianship. 

    1. To read about determining capacity and more information about Guardianship and Alternatives to Guardianship, you may want to review 10 FAQs about Guardianship.  Be careful that the guardian will not want to also take on the role of Adult Family Care provider.

    2. Depending on your child's situation, Supported Decision Making (or SDM) may be an option. Helping a person learn decision-making skills by making her own choices with help and guidance is supported decision-making. Many families, support staff, and other advocates are already having conversations and using SDM in their everyday lives. For more information, please take a look at

    3. If your child is capable of establishing their own legal documents, including a health care proxy, HIPPA documents, Power of Attorney and Power of Advocate, please consult with an experienced special needs attorney to help create these documents. They should be drafted with the same standard of care you would require for your own legal planning documents.

  2. Be sure there is less than $2000 in your child’s name before applying for government benefits.

    1. Depending on the level of assets your child has, you may choose to utilize an ABLE account or a first-party special needs trust to hold these assets and avoid a future spend-down scenario.

  3. Apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI ) benefits for your child.

    1. Here is a link to the SSI resources on the Social Security website for more information about applying for SSI.  If a parent is currently receiving SSI or SSDI, your child may be eligible for Childhood Disability Benefits (formerly known as Disabled Child -DAC Benefits) and receive SSDI based upon a parent's earnings. More information may be found in this helpful booklet from the Social Security Administration,  Benefits for Children with Disabilities. 

    2. Set up a bank account with a parent or guardian as the Representative Payee.

  4. Apply for MassHealth premium reimbursement.

    1. In Massachusetts, SSI recipients are automatically enrolled In MassHealth.

    2. If your child is covered under private health insurance, check to see if you are eligible for premium assistance reimbursement .

  5. Apply for Housing Assistance.

    1. Place yourself in the queue by filing an application for a Section 8 housing voucher. 

  6. Review your estate planning documents.

    1. Be sure your beneficiary designations are correct and consider naming a nominee to act as a successor and/or standby guardian.

  7. Consult with your professional team- your financial planner, attorney, accountant.

    1. Determine if there are additional actions to be taken now or to think through for the future. Send us a note
Additional resources you may find helpful: 

 Click me .   TransitionLOI-2


Please contact us to determine if we may be of help in your specific situation. 


Tags: caregivers for special needs, guardianship, government supports, Social security income

NEW: Our Quick Reference Guide to Special Needs Trusts

Posted by Haddad Nadworny on Fri, Apr 02, 2021 @ 07:00 AM

The Special Needs Financial Planning Team at Affinia Financial Group John Nadworny, CFP, CTFA | Cynthia Haddad, CFP, ChSNC | Alexandria Nadworny,  CFP, CTFA

Check out our Webinars!

child w glass_3resized_pexels-gabby-k-6186146


No one can replace a parent.  Having a special needs trust in place will help ensure your child continues to be cared for and live a full life as you age and upon your death.  And remember: the legal documents are just Step 1. A trust must be funded to provide the money for your child's care and supplemental needs. 



 What is a special needs trust (SNT)?

  • A trust is a legal document that provides directions and rules for assets held on behalf of a beneficiary or beneficiaries. 
  • These assets are usually bank accounts or investment accounts with stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, or other property such as real estate.
  • A typical trust used in special needs planning is the Special Needs (or the Supplemental Needs) Trust.  This is a trust you, as parents, establish that will allow your child with special needs to receive his/her share of your estate while preserving their government benefits.
    • Key actions:
      • Be sure the trust is properly drafted.
      • Be sure the trust will be adequately funded upon parents/caregiver’s deaths.
      • Be sure your financial planning and legal documents are properly coordinated.
  • If funded properly, the SNT will provide the basis for your child’s future financial security at your death. It will protect their eligibility for government benefits and will make additional money available to supplement their needs. 
    • There are two steps:
      • Identify what your child’s anticipated needs will be.
      • Assess what steps you can realistically take to provide what is necessary in light of your other financial requirements and goals.

Who is involved in setting up a SNT?

  • Trusts create a three-party fiduciary relationship between three parties: the donor, the trustee and the beneficiary.
    • Donor/Creator/Grantor/Trustmaker/Settlor - choose the term you find most clear, but this is the person who creates and funds the trust.​
    • Trustee(s) - the person(s) who will be responsible for managing the special needs trust after your death. ​
    • Beneficiary - the person who is entitled to receive funds from the trust.​
      • Remainder beneficiary- Upon the death of your child, any remaining assets in the trust will be distributed to whomever you name as the successor or remainder beneficiary.

Why set up a SNT?

  • The special needs trust (SNT) allows you to leave an inheritance to your child without disqualifying him or her for government benefits. 
  • You can direct any share of your estate to be distributed to the special needs trust, including your house (although in many cases, this is not a recommended planning strategy), savings and investment accounts, life insurance proceeds, and/or retirement plans.
  • You do not have to disinherit your child or leave his or her share to another person to direct the funds for your child's benefit. 

What types of SNTs are there?

  • There are three types of special needs trusts: third-party special needs trusts, first-party special needs trusts, and pooled trusts.
    • Third-Party Special Needs Trusts
    • A third-party special needs trust (SNT) is the most common trust used in special needs planning.
    • It is often established by parents, grandparents or other people wishing to gift money or leave an inheritance to the beneficiary (your child) without disqualifying them for government benefits.
    • During their lifetime, the trust will serve as a source of money to supplement your child's government benefits and may provide for additional care providers, care managers, special foods or supplements, non-covered medical expenses, therapies and equipment, entertainment, hobbies, trips, and other items to enhance their life.
    • There are no Medicaid pay-back provisions in a third party SNT.  The trustee is responsible to know what they can and cannot provide for the beneficiary.
    • Trustees must know the rules and not to provide any money directly to the beneficiary. The trustee may pay directly to the vendor or provider of services. One simple example is haircuts. The trustee may pay directly to the salon but may not give money to the beneficiary to pay for their own haircut, which could potentially disqualify them for certain government benefits.    
  • First-Party Special Needs Trusts
    • A first-party special needs trust (SNT) is allowed under OBRA ’93 and known as (d)(4)(A) Trusts, Pay-back Trusts, or more recently, as Self-Settled Trusts.
    • This trust document allows any inheritance, legal settlement, or other assets held or received by an individual with disabilities to be deposited to this self-settled trust while allowing the individual to maintain or become eligible for certain government benefits.
    • At one time only a parent, grandparent, or court could establish such a trust, but with more recent legislation, the individual may establish their own first-party SNT.
    • The funds may only be used for the sole benefit of the beneficiary. Upon the death of the beneficiary, any remaining assets in the trust would first be subject to pay-back for Medicaid expenses rather than to family members. The distributions and provisions of these trusts are a bit more complicated; establishing and administering them often requires additional legal guidance.
    • When an individual has both a first-party SNT with a pay-back provision and a third-party SNT where there are successor beneficiaries named in the document, distributions must be made carefully as the rules are a bit different. This is where your choice of trustee or co-trustees and your financial planner or investment manager is critical; they should know the purpose of the trust and the difference between each trust.
    • Pooled Trusts
    • A pooled trust, also known as a (d)(4)(C) trust, is for individuals with disabilities and established and managed by a non-profit organization. Assets are combined and invested together, and funds are spent on beneficiaries in proportion to their share of the total trust amount.
    • Pooled trusts are available to individuals over age 65 who receive Medicaid or SSI.
    • When the beneficiary dies, there is no Medicaid pay-back provision, however, the non-profit organization will retain a portion of the funds remaining.
    • This option is appropriate for the beneficiary who has no other viable trust options. To find a pooled trust in your state, or your child’s state of residence, please visit (The Academy of Special Needs Planners, 2020) or (Special Needs Alliance, 2020) to find a directory of pooled trusts by state.

When and how should the trust be funded? 

Trusts may be funded in various ways and, in most circumstances, the SNT is funded at the death of the parent(s) or primary care giver, rather than during their lifetime. 

A trust is like a bucket that must be filled and you provide direction to the trustee(s) as to how the money in this bucket is to be distributed. Keep in mind that without making provisions for assets to be directed into the trust, you would provide only an empty bucket.

  • Incorporating trusts in your estate planning documents can be complex, it is wise to follow up with your attorney and your financial advisor to implement the provisions of your estate plan. 
  • Reasons for NOT funding the trust during a donor’s lifetime include:
    • Once a trust is funded, the money can only be used to meet the beneficiary’s supplemental needs. 
    • A separate tax return must be filed.
    • Taxes on any earnings must be paid by the trust. Income earned in the trust is usually taxed at a higher tax rate than an individual rate.
    • Once a trust is funded, it becomes irrevocable. This prevents you from making any changes to the terms of the trust.
    • Overall, it dramatically decreases any flexibility in your plan.
  • Reasons to consider funding a SNT during the lifetime of the donor as a planning strategy: 
    • If the individual funding the trust has more than enough money to meet his/her personal needs and funding the trust will not jeopardize their personal financial security.
    • The donor will have the comfort of knowing that there will be money set aside and available for the beneficiary.
    • Parents with taxable estates who are implementing strategies to reduce their estate tax liability.
    • Grandparents or others trying to reduce their taxable estate by gifting to your child – the SNT will protect the child’s eligibility for government benefits.
    • Money in the trust can provide some protection from creditors. 
    • Money directly received by the child either through an inheritance and/or a legal settlement which would otherwise disqualify them for benefits. This would be a “payback” SNT.​​

For additional information about incorporating special needs trusts into your planning: 

            A Parent's Guide to Setting up a Special Needs Trust                


Tags: Special Needs Trusts

Warm, Cozy and Filled with Love: New Info for your Letter of Intent

Posted by Haddad Nadworny on Sun, Feb 14, 2021 @ 06:30 AM

The Special Needs Financial Planning Team at Affinia Financial Group John Nadworny, CFP, CTFA | Cynthia Haddad, CFP, ChSNC | Alexandria Nadworny,  CFP, CTFA

Check out our Webinars!

Virtual Fireplace


Happy Valentine's Day! While winter is all around us, this is a day to feel the warmth of those we love and for many of us, no one fits that description more than our family members. While staying safe and cozy at home, there is an opportunity to show your love for your family and your child with special needs by working on your Letter of Intent (LOI). In honor of Valentine's Day, we are proud to debut a new publication, Parent’s Guide to the Letter of Intent, to help you complete or review your LOI. 

Parents Guide to the LOILight a fire in your real or virtual fireplace (apologies for the commercials, they are just in the beginningbut the audio ambiance alone is amazing) and curl up with a copy of our newly published Parent’s Guide.  

The Parent's Guide is a companion document to our popular fillable Letter of Intent template. It contains insights and pointers on each section of the LOI, as well as including a list  of Helpful Tips on completing the document as a whole.  The Parent's Guide includes links to additional information and resources, including our own stories, to help you gain a better  understanding of the relationships and personal dynamics that may be involved in planning for your child's future.

As a 47-page document, the LOI is a project to be sure. (Thank goodness for the fillable PDF!).  It is critically important to provide the people who will care for your child when you are gone with detailed information that only you know. Your LOI will provide all the members of your Team, whether they are a legal guardian, sibling/family member, friend, community member, trustee, organization or professional, with first-hand knowledge of how to best care for your child. 

No one can replace a parent. However, you can put a plan in place to ensure your child continues to be cared for and live a full life as you age and upon your death. A great place to start is with the Letter of Intent. 

Download the Parents Guide and LOI in PDFDownload the Parents' Guide and LOI & email




Tags: special needs Letter of Intent

Celebrating Specialized Housing and Ron's Home Sweet Home 🏡

Posted by Cynthia Haddad on Wed, Nov 25, 2020 @ 06:30 AM

The Special Needs Financial Planning Team at Affinia Financial Group John Nadworny, CFP, CTFA | Cynthia Haddad, CFP, ChSNC | Alexandria Nadworny,  CFP, CTFA

Check out our Webinars!

Celebrating Specialized Housing and Ron's Home Sweet Home

My Brother's Journey to Home Ownership

By Cindy Haddad, Ron's Sister and SHI Superfan

Last month, I joined a group of families online to view the premiere of From Self- Advocacy to Independent Living, a documentary film telling the inspirational story of David and Margot Wizansky and the history of Specialized Housing, Inc.

Ron's home in Arlington, MASpecialized Housing, Inc. (SHI), pioneered the concept of people with disabilities owning their own home within a supported community. This simple description doesn’t come close to describing the enormous positive impact this living arrangement has provided for SHI residents and their families.

While my older brother Ron resides in a SHI home in Arlington, MA, watching the documentary made me think about my own journey with SHI, one that started over 25 years ago.

I attended an adult sibling meeting held by the Arc of Greater Boston (now part of Northeast Arc) and the speaker was Margot Wizansky. As she described this first-of-its-kind, amazing living situation, I thought WOW:

  1. I can provide a stable environment for Ron 😊 and
  2. I don’t have to move into the family home 😀 and
  3. Ron and I do not have to live together! 😁

At the time, SHI had a house with a space available in Harvard Square and my Mother and I went for a visit. Everything about it seemed perfect; the staff and residents had tremendous positive energy and the house was awesome. It had an unbeatable location and was very close to a bus line that ran right by our home, a great benefit since Ron knew how to use public transportation.

Ron had told us that he wanted to move and we rushed home, excited to share our good news. Well, I was in for a surprise; Ron had no interest in moving into a house and sharing space with several people! I had thought that coming from a big family, he would have no issue living in a house with 10 people. I had thought I knew best but had forgotten to ask Ron what his thoughts were before moving ahead. Ron then moved into a different housing arrangement which, years later, he outgrew.

Ron Out & AboutOver the years I have spoken with many families of the adults who reside in a SHI home, including some of the first residents of the first house in Brookline. They hold these residences in the highest regard for the longevity of staff, stability of community and environment of independence, respect and support. I always thought, Ron deserves all of this.

Two years ago, when working with a SUPPORTbroker at the Arc of Massachusetts and our DDS service coordinator to find a change of residence for Ron, they suggested a SHI home in Arlington, our hometown. Well, seeing is believing and all the accolades have proven to be true. Ron loves his condo, the staff is great and during Covid, when it was unsafe to go to work, he and his housemates have provided support for one another. While the model is well-known now, and not fit for everyone, it has brought out the best in Ron.

Ron and Jackie This holiday will be different for various reasons, but I am taking time to focus on and be grateful for the brightness provided by so many in my life, especially on behalf of Ron. I give thanks to the entire SHI family, but especially to Jackie, Ken, Josie, Sharita, Uche, Heather, Michael, Chuck, Ted and so many others for their wonderful care of their residents and keeping them safe during Covid. I am grateful for the amazing pioneering parents and their children who have led the way for us and to their other siblings who carry on. I continue to stand in awe of Margot and David for their vision, leadership and incredible belief and advocacy (even beyond Mass Advocates Standing Strong), on behalf of people with disabilities for decades.

Their light shines brightly- watch the video!







Tags: Housing

The Pandemic, Your 2021 Benefits and Year-End Planning Tips

Posted by Haddad Nadworny on Tue, Nov 03, 2020 @ 06:00 AM

The Special Needs Financial Planning Team at Affinia Financial Group John Nadworny, CFP, CTFA | Cynthia Haddad, CFP, ChSNC | Alexandria Nadworny,  CFP, CTFA

Check out our Webinars!

The Pandemic,Your 2021 Benefits and Year-End Planning  

2021-pexels-olya-kobruseva-5408689When making decisions and planning for 2021, it makes sense to consider the residual effects on your life and current circumstances created by Covid-19.  The degree to which life has changed since February 2020 will vary from person to person but the key thing is to look at your decisions for the future through the lens of your new reality.  

 Here are a few things to consider:  

It’s open enrollment period for employee benefits.   

open-enrollment-clipart-2 (1)In 2020, Covid-19 caused many doctors, dentists and other health providers, as well as dependent care programs, including programs supporting people with disabilities, to close their offices to all but emergency situations. Given the uncertainties of the current environment, be sure to consider how the pandemic may affect you and your family when reviewing and making decisions regarding your benefits elections for 2021 

Flexible spending accounts (FSAs)They are use it or lose it 

Many employers offer flexible spending accounts funded with pre-tax dollars from your paycheck that may be used to pay for qualified health (FSAs, HSAs), dependent care (DCAP) and commuting expenses The trade-off for being able to use these tax-free dollars is that you are required to spend them within a specified time period, most often the calendar year you are deferring in. If you do not use the funds, you will lose the money in the account (it reverts back to your employer).  

At this time imay make sense to: 

  • Change your elections to reflect your new or the situation you project for 2021. 
  • Check the remaining balances in your employee benefit accountsDepending on your plan, you may be able to carry-over up to $550 to next year (to be used by March 15, 2021) and this may bring about a change in your election amounts for 2021.  
  • If you have a balance you may use up your remaining FSA dollars to stock up on supplies you use on a regular basis. Here is a list of FSA qualified expenses. 

 Job change? It’s important thing to know:  

  • If you lose your job during a calendar year and do not elect COBRA, you will not be able to access the funds in your FSA after your employment is terminated.   
  • If you change jobs or leave your job, you will not be able to access the funds in your FSA after your employment is terminated.   


Step up the 401K election, if possible. There are many things in your budget that you probably did not get to do during the pandemic: travel for vacation, dine in restaurants, send your child to camp, or go to concerts, ballgames or conferences. As a result, you may have accumulated some cash in your accounts that can step in to cover an increased retirement plan contribution.  

If you are not already contributing the amount that is matched by your employer- this is in essence “free money”- this is a great time to up your contribution. If possible, max out your 401K contribution; for 2021 the maximum contribution is $19,500, or $26,000 if you are age 50 or over.  

Your taxes: It’s not too late to act for 2020 

 A charitable deduction for all.  

Everyone may take an “above the line $300 charitable deduction- This year, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides that all tax filers, whether they itemize or not, may take an “above the line” (meaning direct deduction) from their adjusted gross income or AGI,  of up to $300 in cash donations they make to qualified charities.  And if you can itemize, the tax benefits are even better. You can deduct all of your cash donations, up to 100% of your adjusted gross income (AGI). Normally, this limit is 60% of AGI.  

Retirement Accounts 

Consider contributing to an IRAYou can contribute a maximum of $6,000 to an IRA for 2020, plus an extra $1,000 if you are 50 or older. You will have until the filing deadline (right now, April 15, 2021) to make the IRA contributions, but the sooner you get your money into the account, the sooner it has the potential to start to grow tax-deferred. 

Is your current tax rate lower than your anticipated future tax rate? A Roth conversion may make sense for your IRA.   

Retired and want to convert your retirement savings to a tax-free legacy for your heirs? If you have space in your marginal tax bracket, it may make sense to convert some retirement savings to a Roth this year.  

Don’t need the $ from your RMD?  Don’t take it. Thanks to the CARES Act, let the money grow tax-deferred another year and it will not be added to your taxable income this year.  

 We hope you found this helpful and are here to answer questions and help you plan for the future.  

Contact us with questions about how these and other changes may impact your  planning. 


SHRM: Planning 2021 Benefits Changes for the Covid-19 era 


This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. There is no assurance that the views or strategies discussed are suitable for all investors or will yield positive outcomes.  

 Investing involves risks including possible loss of principal. 

 Traditional IRA account owners have considerations to make before performing a Roth IRA conversion. These primarily include income tax consequences on the converted amount in the year of conversion, withdrawal limitations from a Roth IRA, and income limitations for future contributions to a Roth IRA. In addition, if you are required to take a required minimum distribution (RMD) in the year you convert, you must do so before converting to a Roth IRA. 

 Contributions to a traditional IRA may be tax deductible in the contribution year, with current income tax due at withdrawal.  Withdrawals prior to age 59 ½ may result in a 10% IRS penalty tax in addition to current income tax. 

This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific tax issues with a qualified tax advisor. 

Affinia Financial Group, Special Needs Financial Planning, and LPL Financial do not provide tax advice. 

















Tags: Retirement Planning, Taxes and special needs families, financial planning

2020 Time-Sensitive Planning Strategies for Grandparents

Posted by Haddad Nadworny on Wed, Oct 07, 2020 @ 08:00 AM

The Special Needs Financial Planning Team at Affinia Financial Group John Nadworny, CFP, CTFA | Cynthia Haddad, CFP, ChSNC | Alexandria Nadworny,  CFP, CTFA

2 Birds_pexels-pixabay-45853In a perfect world, grandparents would be able to confidently plan for their personal financial security during their lifetimes and also plan for their children and grandchildren as beneficiaries of their estate.

While ours is far from a perfect world, as year-end 2020 approaches there are time-sensitive financial planning strategies grandparents of children with special needs should be aware of and may want to consider:

  1. Contribute to an ABLE account
    1. An ABLE or 529 (A) account allows people with disabilities and their families to save for disability related expenses, while maintaining eligibility for Medicaid and other means-tested public benefits programs. Since ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) accounts were created in 2014, there have been many changes both on the state and national level to provide further advantages for people with disabilities. In addition, the ability to use ABLE funds to pay for qualified disability expenses has expanded during Covid 19. ABLE account savings may make it possible to continue to afford to live independently in the community, pay for additional support services, grocery delivery charges, personal protective equipment and extra expenses during this pandemic or when other emergencies arise in the future. Source:
  1. Convert a traditional IRA to a tax-free Roth IRA and set up a Special Needs Trust as the Beneficiary of the retirement account.
    1. Background: The SECURE Act* eliminated the “stretch” provision of an inherited IRA for non- exception beneficiaries. Prior to the SECURE Act, the beneficiary of an inherited IRA could “stretch” the distributions required from the account over their lifetime. Now, inherited IRAs are subject to the 10-year rule; the assets in the account must be distributed to beneficiaries over the next 10 years. This has significant tax implications as inheritors are required to take distributions during what may be their prime earning years., Our blog, When a Special Needs Trust is the Beneficiary of a Retirement Account , goes into further detail and gives a detailed example of the substantial impact this change has on both account owners and their beneficiaries.
    2. An exception: Exception beneficiaries, including individuals with disabilities or who are chronically ill, may still “stretch” the distributions over their lifetime. To read more about the details, click here.
    3. It may make sense for retirees to consider converting a portion of a traditional IRA to a ROTH IRA to leave beneficiaries an account that will be completely tax-free. To read more about this strategy and see a case example, see The "10 Year Rule" and After-Tax Strategies to Consider. 

When determining if these strategies are appropriate for you, please consult with your financial, legal and tax professionals. To discuss these and other strategies, please act sooner rather than later and email or give us a call to discuss suitable next steps for your specific situation in 2020.

Let's talk!

* The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement or SECURE Act was signed into law on December 20, 2019, becoming effective January 1, 2020. The law provides important changes for individuals and small businesses to consider in their retirement, estate and tax planning.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual, nor intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax or legal advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific situation with a qualified tax or legal advisor.

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. Withdrawals used for qualified disability expenses are federally tax free. Tax treatment at the state level may vary. Please consult with your tax advisor before investing.

 Traditional IRA account owners have considerations to make before performing a Roth IRA conversion. These primarily include income tax consequences on the converted amount in the year of conversion, withdrawal limitations from a Roth IRA, and income limitations for future contributions to a Roth IRA. In addition, if you are required to take a required minimum distribution (RMD) in the year you convert, you must do so before converting to a Roth IRA.


Financial planning and investment advice offered through Affinia Financial Group, LLC, a registered investment advisor. Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Affinia Financial Group and LPL Financial are separate entities.






Tags: ABLE Accoount, Roth IRA, Grandparents