Planning for the future: reality check for parents of special needs kids

The article Adviser has plans for special needs children: South Florida Sun-Sentinel addresses an issue that all parents of special needs kids, who may never be able to care for themselves, should start looking at as soon as possible – financial planning.

The article highlights the efforts of Karen Greenberg:

Based on her experiences as the mother of 18-year-old Ricky, who has autism, she used her financial planning and accounting background to research ways parents can plan for the futures of their special needs children.

‘In all my training, I hadn’t come up with this particular situation — where a family member would be dependent all of their life — or never read anything about what to do with a disabled family member,’ Greenberg said.

Financial advisers told her to leave everything to her daughter. But Greenberg said she wasn’t happy with that advice and didn’t want her son’s care to be her daughter’s burden.

‘I started asking my peers at support groups and other places what they were doing about estate planning. I found most parents hadn’t done any planning or they were afraid to make mistakes, so they did nothing,’ she said. ‘But they were interested in having me take a look at their plans. That’s when I decided to make this into a not-for-profit organization, so I could help others.’

‘The key is education. We teach them about the Special Needs Trust. We make sure their child is not named as beneficiary in their wills, life insurance or retirement accounts and that it goes to the trust. We encourage that the trust is set up while the parents are alive,’ Vogel said.

I’m sure there is something similar available in other states. If anyone knows of any, please let me know.

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