How to Financially Plan for Your Child with Special Needs
Planning for your child who will require lifelong support can be overwhelming. You have to consider legal and financial matters, your child’s individual needs, and the effect all your decisions will have on everyone else in the family. And the costs associated with raising your child with a disability like autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy or epilepsy are shocking. So how do you best financially plan for your child with special needs?
What Does it Cost to Raise a Child with Special Needs?
Even if you have health insurance, parents can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on out-of-pocket fees associated with equipment, medication, and care for their child, depending on the diagnosis. Some disabilities are more costly than others. These payments may continue once he or she becomes an adult, and plans for who will oversee his or her care after you’re gone will be important.
Financial experts now predict that raising a child to age 18 costs upwards of $250,000. Parents of children with disabilities and special needs incur costs as much as ten times greater. A severely autistic child can have annual medical bills of $60,000 a year or more, with a lifetime expense of over $3 million.
Create a Financial Plan
Reflecting on these thoughts might make you hesitate with fear and anxiety. But the act of creating a plan can ease these tensions. A plan will give you peace of mind since some of the issues you need to confront are financial: How do you set aside money for your child without affecting his or her government benefits? And some are emotional: Who would understand your child’s needs if something were to happen to you right now?
The following is a quick list of steps to planning for your child’s future. Some are simple, some are challenging; some cost nothing and some require paying legal fees. Regardless, if you get started on these now, you’ll feel calmer and more in control.
Create a team of experts
That includes an attorney, doctor, accountant and government benefits specialist to help understand the ins and outs of Social Security, Medicaid and other programs.
Create a letter of intent
A letter of intent is a written bio of the child’s history, medical needs, doctors, allergies, likes and dislikes. It also serves as a way to guide and direct the future trustee and guardian of your child.
Create a will
A will gives direction to your child’s guardian and to courts on how assets should be moved and allocated.
Create a Special Needs Trust (SNT)
An SNT helps serve as a separate entity to the child to hold money that won’t disqualify a child from third party assistance programs.
Create a financial plan for building assets
Special needs require unique planning. If all of this is too overwhelming, we can help. Contact us at (844) 255-4477 and we will work with your family to establish a village that can help you raise and provide for your child.
If you feel overwhelmed and you need help, please contact us.
American Advocacy Group is on the front lines every day, making positive change happen for people diagnosed with Autism, Down syndrome and a range of diagnoses across the continuum. As a leading advocate for all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families, and the premier provider of the support and services people want and need, we understand the system and know how to take action in regard to your best interests.
CONTACT US FOR HELP.
Dial (844) 255-4477 or email us at [email protected]