Any parents know that it costs a great deal of money to get a child from birth to college. In 2017, it was estimated that the cost to raise a child in a middle-class family to the age of 17 was over $233,000. However, add special needs concerns to this mix, and the number goes up significantly. Estimates say that the average lifetime cost of caring for an individual with autism is $1.4 million. It can cost even more for other types of disabilities.
Estate planning is imperative, especially for these families. Parents must have a last will and testament in place and may want to draft a letter of intent to tell other family members about their wishes and intents. Parents should also be quick to set up a special needs trust to hold money for the individual. Special needs individuals will not be able to have more than $2,00 to their name, or they will risk giving up government benefits.
A life insurance policy is vital for parents who are still caring for their adult children. Consider taking out a last-to-die insurance policy, which will give out fabulous death benefits when the second spouse dies. The benefits should go directly into the special needs trust.
Before the child legally enters adulthood, parents should apply for Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income if possible. The child’s assets must be under $2,000, and he or she should be in the mid to late teenage years.
Many nonprofit organizations exist to help families manage daily affairs with less of a burden. They may provide adult day care, rides to appointments and help finding a job for the special needs individual.
When you need extra help planning for your child’s financial future, contact Newman, Aaronson, Vanaman Attorneys at Law. We are dedicated special needs attorneys who can help you work out financial, legal and educational matters for your children.