Part I – What If?
If you have a child with special needs or another relative in your care who has a disability, have you considered what will happen to your loved one if you make no plans for their future care when you die or are no longer able to provide the care and supervision he or she requires? It doesn’t matter if your loved one is three-months old or 70-years-old. Whether you are a couple or a single parent in your 20’s, 30’s, 50’s or 80’s, or if your annual income is $25,000 or $25,000,000. What matters, is the fact that Special Needs Planning is a responsibility that must be addressed now, before it is too late. Your plan should be based on the abilities and needs of your child today, not what you think or hope their abilities will be in the future.
Have you considered?
- What will happen if one or both of you lose your jobs; divorce; become ill or disabled; reach retirement age and are still in debt without something set aside for the rest of your life and for your loved ones who survive you?
- Do you know which of the five Social Security benefits your child will be eligible to receive at various times in his or her life?
- Have you taken the necessary steps to be assured that your child will remain eligible to receive these benefits?
- Do you know how to leave assets for your loved one’s lifetime care without Medicaid taking some, or all of it as a benefits “payback” before your child receives it?
- Do you want to select the future Guardians and Trustees for your child, or do you want to leave that decision to the State in which you reside?
- If you are divorced, would you like to have someone other than your ex-spouse manage and have control of any assets you leave for your child?
- What happens to the authority you have on behalf of your minor child with special needs when your loved one reaches the age of 18, and becomes an emancipated adult?
These are only a few of the many questions that I hear everyday from parents just like you. Yes, this is a very scary subject and frankly, future planning for your loved one with special needs can be overwhelming. But let’s face reality. Chances are your child with special needs will probably survive you. If you have done no planning, what will happen to your loved one when you die? Who will take care of him or her? Will there be enough money? Scared? Concerned? You should be. I have heard every excuse. No one is more important than planning for the future of your loved one with a disability. Don’t disappoint them by not making sure they will have a safe and secure future when you are no longer here.
Right now, you are probably asking yourself, where can I get the answers to my questions and concerns? Who do I turn to? How do I even begin the planning process? What is it going to cost? How much time will it take? These are all valid questions, not valid excuses. I have answers to all of your questions. But you have to take the first step. You must make the commitment to plan for the future of your loved one. And, it has to be done today, not six-months or 6-years from now, because no one has a crystal ball to see into the future. Not taking action today is just another excuse. Read Part 2 tomorrow, but begin your commitment now by visiting Serenitas Special Needs Planning website at www.SerenitasSNP.com, or call 818-231-6759