Spring Into Strategy

Have you heard this one before?

“I already did my special needs planning-we have a Special Needs Trust and an ABLE account. We are all set!”

Guess what folks?! Special needs planning is not just about trusts and ABLE accounts. It is about STRATEGY!

Having a Trust, Will, ABLE Account, and Medicaid Waiver can be very helpful, depending on your situation. However, on their own, they are only individual pieces that those left behind when you are no longer here will need to fit together.

We believe there are two ways to think about special needs planning;

Engaging in multiple transactions OR Taking a strategic, holistic planning approach

Engaging in transactions exclusively

Approaching special needs planning as a series of transactions with various professionals has tremendous risk:

Financial risk to transactional planning:

  • Is your financial professional knowledgeable of the lifetime cost of care for the individual with a disability?
  • Has your financial professional created a plan that addresses the lifelong cost of care alongside the family’s retirement and the future costs of their other children?
  • Has your financial professional considered whether there is a need for elder care, long term care, term or life insurance to address an event in which a family member is no longer able to work?
  • Is your financial professional working closely with tax professionals to ensure tax efficiency in all areas of planning?

Legal risk to transactional planning:

  • Is your attorney knowledgeable of the above cost considerations?
  • Are they in communication with the financial team to ensure legal documents address and protect a pathway of assets that spans generations?
  • Has your attorney met with the clinical team to understand how to best support the individual with a disability to make decisions and created legal supports for them?
  • Is your attorney aware of how to protect the individual with a disability’s access to public benefits, should they need that assistance in the future?

Case Management risk in transactional planning:

  • Is your case manager aware not only of the needs of the individual with a disability but also the needs of the other family members who, if not at their best, may not be able to provide the ongoing level of care and support needed?
  • Is your case manager proactively planning for supports by communicating with the individual’s therapists, providers, and thinking ahead to any threats to their continued access to services?
  • Does your case manager work to coordinate services and communicate needs to the entire team, including the other expert professionals working to support the individual with a disability?

Here is how a strategic planning approach differs by providing a durable, long-lasting solution:

  • Provides you with a comprehensive financial plan that spans the generations to provide support to every member that continues beyond the parents’ lifetime.
  • Your plan is driven by the individual with a disability’s cost of care, which calculates their current monthly, annual, and lifetime expenses.
  • This cost is then considered alongside the costs of every member, including the parents’ retirement funding needs as well as the future funding needs of the other children and any grandparents or other members requiring support.
  • Your plan is viewed through a tax lens regularly to ensure opportunities for tax efficiency are considered at every step.
  • Your plan is also mapped to show a flow of assets over the generations in coordination with the legal documents drafted to protect and designate the funds to those that need them.
  • Your plan is also driven by the care needs of the individual with a disability such that the legal documents support their decisions and designate those in their life who can continue to provide support and guidance, particularly when their parents are no longer here.
  • Your plan includes a support strategy that consists of listing the therapeutic professionals, doctors, services, and providers involved in the individual’s care as well as a comprehensive Care Plan that details the day to day support needs of the individual with a disability.
  • Your entire compressive plan is developed by the financial, tax, legal, and clinical team together, reviewed regularly, and updated as needs change both for the individuals supported by the plan as well as any changes to financial, legal, or clinical stated and federal regulations.
  • Your plan is proactive, thinking ahead to the future and flexible so that it can adapt at any time.

Our goal at All Needs Planning is to help every family obtain their strategic Special Needs Master Plan. Reach out to us to learn more!

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