Do you have a loved one with special needs but aren’t sure how to create the roadmap that will allow them to live a long, healthy life?
Creating a special needs roadmap is a crucial step if you have a loved one with special needs. Unfortunately, many parents approach each day as it comes, uncertain who will take care of their loved one when they pass. Without a roadmap, the family has limited ability to create a high quality of life. Nor can they determine how much financial support to allocate to their loved one. In this blog post, you’ll become familiar with the four essential areas of a special needs roadmap and how to implement them. Creating a roadmap requires a unique balance of four essential areas:
1. Life Planning
2. Resource Planning
3. Financial Planning
4. Legal Planning
These four planning areas contribute to each other to create the Special Needs Planning Roadmap.
During the Life Planning phase, you envisage a rewarding future for your loved one. FIrst you assess the abilities and limits of your child. Then you assemble circles of support to carry out the Life Plan. Then you follow up with writing a Letter of Intent This document makes the trustee aware of your child's functional abilities, routines, interests, and particular likes and dislikes.
In short, this is all about imagining your child’s rightful place in the community as an adult. Life planning can be a stress reliever as you lay out a plan to see your loved one live the life they deserve.
During the Resource Planning phase, you identify the resources needed to ensure the Life Plan comes about. Without the proper resources, the Life Plan is nothing more than a wishful thought.
These include discovering a job your loved one can be proud of, understanding the basics of state and federal benefits, and creating a plan for future living arrangements. By matching relevant resources to your child’s unique disability, you can feel more secure about your child reaching these key milestones.
Each individual’s needs are different. Resource Planning focuses on your loved one’s potential, not their limits. This leads to a higher quality of life.
During the Financial Planning phase we explore the different funding alternatives. We settle on ways to pay for the resources identified in the previous step. The Special Needs Financial Plan is the centerpiece of the work we do for each special needs family. We build on top of the life plan foundation, using modern financial planning tools and techniques.
We carefully integrate the special needs financial plan with the comprehensive family financial plan. The values, goals, and priorities of the special needs individual should mesh with the family’s. This delicate balancing between the special needs financial plan and the comprehensive family financial plan ensures the family unit experiences the future they all envisage.
During this process, some important questions arise.
How much lifetime financial support is needed?
How will I ensure the special needs trust has enough to cover my loved one’s needs?
How do I manage income, trust, and estate taxes?
Finding answers to these questions ensures that Life Planning and Resource Planning have a chance of succeeding.
Finally, there is the Legal Planning phase. Creating a sound legal plan ensures your wishes are carried out even when you’re gone. You’ll complete the necessary legal documents to guarantee your loved one is taken care of.
While this may seem overwhelming, all planning areas work together to help create the life your loved one deserves. To help break down the process a little more, I’ve created a short video called “The Special Needs Planning Roadmap”. It will walk you through how you can create a special needs plan that you can count on.
And if you need help developing a special needs financial plan, let’s talk. Schedule a complimentary consultation today to get started planning for your loved one’s future.