With each passing election season, the
conversations about the cost of government-provided health care and Social
Security get more urgent. But
debates about the deserving and the undeserving and the proper level of budgets
and taxes tend to gloss over the issue of disabled people — many of whom must
hope that the programs they rely on are not cut, because they have no way to
make up the difference.
Have you heard that the best
defense is a strong offense? So it is with making long-term plans for family
members with special needs. In the end, such family members will be okay and
you will have peace of mind.
Unfortunately, few parents of
children with special needs fully appreciate what is at stake and how to
protect it. To make matters worse, too few professional financial planners are
versed on the need to provide a long-term solution for such children,
especially with shrinking public assistance benefits.
The New York Times recently provided a mini-primer of sorts on the
subject titled “Assuring Care of a Family Member With
Special Needs.” While proper
planning will vary from one family to another, given different needs, there are
many tools to employ ranging from special needs trusts to life insurance. The
key is to know which ones to use.
As the article notes, special
needs planning is only going to grow in importance as funds available for
public assistance programs – Medicare,
Medicaid, Social Security, etc. – become more restricted and uncertain.
Reference: The New York Times (October 5, 2012) “Assuring Care of a Family Member With