Proper preparation with an experienced attorney can help you make informed decisions about their financial future and yours. Raising a child with special needs will require more planning than for a child without special needs. Planning for yourself as you age is now only one piece of the puzzle since planning for your child with special needs will be necessary as well.

October is Down Syndrome Awareness month.  This is an ideal time to raise awareness and share tips for assisting with long-term planning for your child who has special needs. 

What is important to understand is that expenses due to either age or a changing condition will need to be planned for, and this planning needs to be handled by a qualified professional who specializes in this type of situation. 

As you prepare your Estate Plan and long-term care needs, you will also need to consider the needs of your child. As the parent of a child with special needs, you have the ability to set up trusts to provide the legal and financial documents needed to protect your child, if you are no longer in the care picture. Typical expenses that families with children with special needs face include therapy, hiring outside caregivers, special schooling, medical expenses and other services. 

Finances for a Child with Special Needs 

This financial puzzle can be worked through with a professional who knows the costs.  Some of the considerations include life insurance, government assistance programs like Social Security provisions, and perhaps setting up a 529 ABLE, also called a 529A, that can help save for the education of a child with special needs. This is like a 529 plan. 

In addition, having an emergency savings plan in place will also help your family cope with unexpected situations. Experts recommend about six months of living expenses that can financially support your family if there is a job loss or medical emergency. Many financial experts recommend adding to the savings fund on a regular schedule to boost savings.

Legal Documents for a Child with Special Needs

There are also very specific legal documents that need to be in place when you are the parent of a child with special needs. It is imperative to find a reliable attorney to set up a Special Needs Trust. 

This trust summarizes and legally outlines your wishes and decisions concerning your child’s care after you pass away. The money in a special needs trust is allocated toward the cost of care and caregivers, education and medical expenses. In essence, your child is the beneficiary of your estate. 

Plan Today for Tomorrow

The intricate and necessary planning that is needed to effectively plan for your child with special needs and their future may be overwhelming. Having the right partner working on you and your child’s behalf will help to lessen stress and provide the best possible future for your child. Elder Law of East Tennessee provides both empathy and experience to lower your stress and ensure your child’s future is thoughtfully and legally planned.