Planning for care of disabled children what you need to know.
Guest post by Sara Bailey of thewidow.net
Being a parent of a child with a disability, you are concerned about their future health and well-being.
There is no way to guarantee a life of comfort for your child.
There are things you can do to help ensure your child is taken care of when you are no longer an option.
Here are some things to consider when planning for care of disabled children.
The first area you need to consider in Planning for care of disabled children.
According to Boston-based Margolis & Bloom, LLP, your first course of action is to sit down with a financial planner and discuss the current and future financial requirements of your special needs child.
Children with disabilities, including Down syndrome, autism, and other physical and cognitive disorders, may require extended care well into adulthood.
Your child might already be receiving Social Security or Medicare benefits if their disability was identified early.
This is far from enough income to adequately provide for an individual unable to work or manage their finances.
Things to Consider
When speaking to your financial advisor, he or she will likely ask you questions about the services you provide.
You will need to consider these when putting money aside for your child’s future care.
This may also include everything from transportation to supplemental education and social interactions you would like your child to continue in your absence.
Everything from cash assets to property and life insurance should be entered into a trust for your child’s benefit.
If you don’t have life insurance already, now’s the time to consider getting it.
According to Haven Life, married couples, parents, people who own homes, and the household’s so-called “breadwinner” should consider getting a life insurance policy to help protect their families financially in the event of their passing.
Guardianship for Disabled Children
All parents hope their children far outlive themselves. As the parent of a special needs child, you are no different.
Your child may or may not be able to care for themselves as an adult.
You must choose a legal guardian who is willing to make decisions for your child.
The Simple Dollar notes that your local court system will legally appoint this person.
Often, the appointed guardian will be an adult sibling.
Guardians are supervised by the court to prevent abuse of both the child and the money left behind.
Services, Education, and Independence
Depending on your child’s disability, you may wish to enter him or her into public school and then plan for workshops and services for adults with disabilities (adult education) later.
There are many benefits associated with enrollment in an organization that provides education and socialization opportunities for the disabled.
If your child leaves home for these classes, you may also consider pairing them up with a service dog.
According to Dogster, Service dogs and their public access is protected federally in the United States by the Americans with Disabilities Act passed in 1990. There is no national registry of service dogs or standard test or certification process. Businesses are not allowed to discriminate against people with disabilities or demand any kind of documentation about the service dog in the United States. According to the ADA Network, they may ask if the service dog is required because of a disability if the disability is not obvious and what work or task the dog has been trained to perform. The Americans with Disabilities Act distinguishes service dogs from other dogs by training that is directly related to the owner’s disability.
A service dog can greatly improve your child’s quality of life.
It will offer them a level of independence which may otherwise be unattainable.
Passing the Torch of Care
Once you have developed financial and guardianship strategies, it may be prudent to pass the torch to your child’s next caregiver while you are still able to offer advice and guidance.
With your appointed guardian, discuss your hopes and dreams for your child.
Review the ownership of your child’s assets.
Consider having an attorney present to ensure there is no mistaking your — or the appointed guardian’s — intentions.
The appointed guardian should be privy to your child’s personal information, including a complete medical history and insurance information.
This article on Developing an Estate Plan for Parents of Children with Disabilities is an excellent start to understanding the complexities of this area.
In summary: In Planning for Care of Disabled Children remember the following.
You may not always physically be able to care for your disabled child’s immediate needs.
However, with a bit of foresight, careful planning, and partnership with a trusted future guardian, you can enter your golden years without worry that your child’s years will be tarnished.
I thank Sara for writing this article Planning for care of Disabled Children. This is a sensitive and hard subject.
During my years in Corporate American, I worked for a Non-Profit that helps Adults for Disabilities find resources to live independently. This is a subject close to my heart.