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The Burning Special Needs Planning Question

August 31, 2018

We have several clients with children or other family members who require assistance to make it through their day... and who will continue to require assistance to make it through the rest of the days of their lives. Often, these individuals are referred to as "special needs" individuals.

Although the reason that assistance is needed are many and varied, in my experience these situations have one thing in common: the family member caregivers are worried about who will care for their loved ones when they are no longer around to provide care?

The truth is, to paraphrase Yogi Berra, "making predictions are hard... especially about the future." Not being able to predict or control the future, does not mean, however, that we are powerless to provide for loved ones with special needs or that we cannot affect their care... even if we are no longer around.

These special needs situation highlight an essential reason to plan in advance. With good planning:

  • You can provide instructions, guidance and insights to the caregivers who follow;
  • You can create legal documents increasing the likelihood that what you want to happen, will happen;
  • You can create or provide for a source of funding, or even multiple sources of funding for you loved one, not only for sustenance of life but also for enhancement of lifestyle;
  • You can choose some or all of the individuals and/or entities that would be involved in continuing the caregiving legacy you began.

The issue of special needs planning is very complicated and may be subject to change with changing law and financial situations. Due to the complexities involved and the interconnection of special needs planning with the rest of your financial and estate planning, we suggest you "not try it at home" but rather seek experienced planners and legal practitioners to guide you.

If the questions we raised above provoked some additional questions on your part, please feel free to contact us to talk. Remember, we are here to help.