What is Involved in Special Needs Financial Planning?
The Special Needs Financial Planning process helps prepare for the future of a loved one with a disability like deafness, blindness or other special needs condition such as autism or down syndrome.
(For more about Special Needs Financial Planning and the story behind Bulldog Financial Planning read more here )
Families with Special Needs Children -
These children go through a transition to adulthood similar to other children; however, there needs to be more consideration placed upon the additional costs related to the care needed to help them live their lives. This means putting together financial plans to help fund their future lifestyles while making sure this does not effect their ability to use government benefits.
Individuals living with Disabilities or Special Needs Conditions -
These adult individuals are collecting social security disability and medicaid benefits along with receiving other state sponsored assistance. The planning process is similar for these individuals, except they are further along in life. The key is to help prepare for their future/retirement and maintain their current lifestyles.
The steps include estimating costs, creating an investment strategy, selecting the right account(s), and going through estate planning. Other parts of the process include locating care providers, identifying available support, going through health checks, and utilizing government funded benefits to help provide the needed care. There is a lot to be done, but it does not have to be overwhelming or done all at once.
A few examples of costs to estimate -
a. Psychosocial support
b. Medical care management
e. Third Party Trustee Fees
f. Investment Management Fees
Investment Strategy -
Bulldog Financial Planning helps create investment strategies for each individual and their family. In addition to basic financial suitability and modern investment theory, this means the development of a client specific risk profile that is used to develop the right strategy for you and your goals.
Available Accounts - There are a lot of things to consider but here are a couple points for each.
a. ABLE accounts - These grow tax free for Qualified Disability Distributions but could effect government benefits with a large enough balance.
b. Special Needs Trust - These are taxable accounts, but do not have investment restrictions or limitations.
Letter of Intent - This is a document you add to your estate documents. This outlines family values, a child's favorite things, medical care phone numbers, among other things. Bulldog Financial Planning provides this to clients.