How to Approach Life Planning When You Have a Special Needs Child

by | Sep 10, 2019

Planning for the future is an essential part of every parent’s job. However, parents of children with special needs are faced with a few unique challenges, including a variety of lifetime expenses and potential long-term care to plan around.

If something happens to you that compromises your ability to provide for your child, will they be able to receive the care they need? Fortunately, thinking ahead can help you safeguard their future.

Safeguard the future of your child with special needs by having safeguards in place for them to manage finances and care when you're no longer able to care for them.

Explore Your Life Insurance Options

If you don’t have life insurance yet, now is the time to start thinking about it. A life insurance policy will protect your family if something happens to you.

The money from your policy can help your spouse cover debts, living expenses, and childcare. Life insurance can even pay for your child’s future education or finance a lifetime of care when you’re no longer around.

In the event that both parents pass away, life insurance will ensure that your child is taken care of. Many parents find that life insurance premiums are a small price to pay for peace of mind.

Tackle Estate Planning

It’s also important to take care of your estate planning when you become a parent. When you have a child with special needs, be sure to define exactly where you want all of your assets to go when you die.

If you die without a will, your assets may be split among your relatives or given to the state. This could prevent your child from receiving the financial assistance they need for adequate care.

Get started on your estate planning as soon as possible. According to Money Talks News, estate planning involves assembling a variety of legal documents including a will, living trust, and power of attorney.

Take Advantage of Government Programs

Many government programs are available to help you provide for your special needs child, both today and in the future. For example, your child can get disability coverage through Security Supplemental Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Income (SSDI).

Your child can also receive job and education help through different government associations—this can set them up to land an accessible job in the future. As long as your child’s earnings remain below the income threshold, they can work while still collecting disability benefits.

Set Up a Special Needs Trust

A special needs trust can be beneficial for parents of children who qualify for government assistance benefits. By funding a special needs trust, your child can have access to extra money without disqualifying for SSI.

You and your family members can start funding this trust right away, or you can have your inheritance fund the trust when you die. You can also set up your life insurance so that your payout goes directly into the trust.

That way, your child can benefit from your life insurance policy without losing their government benefits. Remember to appoint a trustee to manage the special needs trust for your child.

Write a Letter of Intent

It’s also a good idea to write up a document called a letter of intent. Your letter of intent should describe the needs of your child and the specific care that you wish for them.

This letter will act as a source of information for anyone involved in caring for your child or managing their special needs trust, helping people make decisions regarding your child’s lifestyle and living arrangements. The document can also serve as a guide for doctors and teachers involved in your child’s life.

. . . . .

Parents of children with special needs are up against some major obstacles when it comes to future-proofing their financial health and family security. Fortunately, there are several resources and tools that parents can use to protect the health and wellbeing of their children, even when they’re no longer around.

The best thing you can do is to start planning today.

About the Author:

Emily Graham is the creator of MightyMoms.net which offers a wide range of info tailored for busy moms — from how to reduce stress to creative ways to spend time together as a family. She believes being a mom is one of the hardest jobs around and wanted to create a support system for moms from all walks of life.

Hi I’m Marissa!

A mom of two little ones, here to provide some relatable experiences, tips, and tricks to the joys and challenges of pregnancy and childbirth through raising babies and toddlers.  Read more about me here.