Getting organized is a challenge for everybody. But when it comes to parents of children with special needs, the challenge is exponential. Many – maybe most – of us are doing well just to make it from the IEP meeting to therapy and specialist visits, cook a meal at home once or twice a week, and keep up with other work and school commitments.
In the midst of juggling all of that, it can feel like too much to ask that we also think about the future of our child with special needs, especially any future that doesn’t include us. And yet most of us do think about it – maybe in the wee hours of the morning some nights or when our partner takes a turn a little too fast on a snowy mountain road during that rare weekend getaway: What will happen to my child without me?
Face the Fear, Lose the Worry
The only way to rid ourselves of such worries is to face our fears, and if your child is anywhere from just diagnosed to about to retire, special needs planners such as our firm can help. Our primary focus is on ensuring the legal documents in your estate plan align with your financial assets to provide lifelong support for your child - while keeping them eligible for needed public benefits.
But our ultimate goal is to ensure that all of our clients’ assets are passed along to support their children – not just their financial assets. The most vital resources for your child’s future –your knowledge of your child’s needs and your experience in providing support – likely exist in the minds of you and your spouse alone. At every stage of your planning journey, especially when you’re just getting started, we have to mine those priceless riches for everything they are worth.
A Planning Tool and Guide for Our Clients
Part of our planning process is helping clients record all of their wisdom and experience to use in supporting each child in the decades to come. We do this in part with our legacy interviews – video recordings where parents and caregivers share their experiences, challenges, and advice for future caregivers.
However, our primary tool for this process is our 12-part Circle of Support and Fiduciary Manual that accompanies each Special Needs Plan. We provide our clients with a fillable PDF of the Manual that they can complete and then easily update.
This provides peace of mind by ensuring your children with special needs have continual, consistent support over their entire lifetimes in order to live their best lives.
This Manual is intended to record that precious information that maybe only you have – who your child’s Medicaid support coordinator is, food preferences or feeding tube supply sources, who to call for a flooded basement or flooded emotions, and much more.
Our goal is to make it easy for a future caregiver to easily find and access this information, so we recommend keeping both print and digital copies of your Manual. Physical copies should be in a location in your home known to people you trust – perhaps with copies of your estate plan and financial records, but definitely NOT in your safe unless you have entrusted those people with the key or passcode.
Join Our Clients in Getting Organized in 2024
If you’re serious about getting organized for your child with special needs, the New Year is the ideal time to start this process. We’ll help you ensure a lifetime of care and support for your child, and make sure that everyone who is a part of your child’s care routine is informed and prepared to take on additional support roles when you can no longer be there, even temporarily.
If you have already taken steps to record important information about your child’s care, January is the time to comb through it and ensure all contact information remains current and that you have the other essential components of a Special Needs Plan to support the physical, emotional, and financial care of your child for years to come.
Schedule a complimentary call with our office right now to learn more and start the New Year on the right foot.
This article is a service of a Personal Family Lawyer® Firm. We don’t just draft documents; we ensure you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That's why we offer a Special Needs Planning Session, during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before and make all the best choices for the people you love. You can begin by calling our office today to schedule a Special Needs Planning Session.
The content is sourced from Personal Family Lawyer® for use by Personal Family Lawyer® firms, a source believed to be providing accurate information. This material was created for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as ERISA, tax, legal, or investment advice. If you are seeking legal advice specific to your needs, such advice services must be obtained on your own separate from this educational material.
Proper estate planning can keep your family out of conflict, out of court, and out of the public eye. If you’re ready to create a comprehensive estate plan, contact us to schedule your Planning Session. Even if you already have a plan in place, we will review it and help you bring it up to date to avoid heartache for your family. Schedule online today.