Top 10 Biggest Do's and Don'ts of Special Needs Planning : Action Financial Strategies LLC | New Holstein, De Pere & Cottage Grove, WI

Top 10 Biggest Do's and Don'ts of Special Needs Planning

You obviously want a bright, fulfilling future for your loved one. So let’s dive into the top 10 biggest do's and don'ts that will help you navigate the world of Special Needs Planning.

DO #1 | Establish a Special Needs Trust

A properly drafted trust ensures your loved one's financial future doesn't interfere with their access to government benefits. It's like a safety net for their well-being, so don't leave home without it! Creating this trust allows for supplemental support, covering expenses like therapy, education, and entertainment that government benefits may not cover. The trust's flexibility is truly an invaluable asset for special needs planning.

DON'T #1 | Disinherit Your Special Needs Child

No, don’t disinherit your special needs child. While this may seem like a way to protect their government benefits, it's a risky move. Instead, funnel their inheritance into a Special Needs Trust, which can be used to supplement their needs without jeopardizing benefits. Leaving your loved one without any financial support is like sending them out in the rain without an umbrella – not a good idea!

DO #2 | Write a Letter of Intent

This "love letter" provides future caregivers with your wishes and instructions for your loved one's care. It's like leaving a roadmap for their future – make sure they don't get lost! Include essential information such as medical history, daily routines, preferred activities, and anything else you believe is crucial for their happiness and well-being. This letter is a chance to ensure your loved one's life remains as consistent and fulfilling as possible.

DON'T #2 | Rely Solely on Siblings or Relatives

While family members may be willing to help, don’t depend solely on siblings or relatives for care – instead, it's essential to have a formal plan in place. After all, life is unpredictable, and we want our loved ones to be in good hands, no matter what. Establishing a support network of professionals, friends, and family members helps create a well-rounded care plan that can adapt to changing circumstances.

DO #3 | Utilize ABLE Accounts

ABLE Accounts stand for Achieving a Better Life Experience. These accounts allow your special needs loved one to save money without jeopardizing government benefits. Think of it as a financial superhero, swooping in to save the day! ABLE Accounts can be used for a wide range of expenses, such as housing, education, assistive technology, and transportation. With these accounts, your loved one gains financial independence and the ability to make choices that enhance their quality of life.

DON'T #3 | Forget to Name a Guardian

Don't forget to name a guardian in your will. Without a designated guardian, the court will decide who's responsible for your loved one's care. Take control and make your choice known – it's your right, after all! Consider the potential guardian's values, ability to provide care, and willingness to take on the responsibility. Remember, this decision will significantly impact your loved one's future, so choose wisely.

DO #4 | Assemble a Team of Professionals

Special needs planning is complex, and enlisting the help of experts like attorneys, financial planners, and care managers can make the process smoother. Think of it as assembling your very own dream team! Each professional brings unique expertise to the table, ensuring your plan is comprehensive and tailored to your loved one's specific needs. It's like having your own pit crew for the race of life – and you definitely want to be in the winner's circle.

DON'T #4 | Assume Government Benefits are Enough

While benefits like SSI and Medicaid are helpful, they may not cover all your loved one's needs. Always plan for additional expenses – better safe than sorry! In a world of ever-changing rules and regulations, it's crucial to stay informed about the available benefits and be prepared to adapt your financial strategy as needed. Planning for extra expenses ensures your loved one has access to the best possible care, even if government benefits fall short.

DO #5 | Review and Update Your Plan Regularly

Life is full of twists and turns, so make sure your special needs plan adapts to those changes. Keep it fresh and up-to-date, like a perfectly ripe avocado. Regularly reviewing your plan helps you spot any gaps or areas that need improvement, keeping you on track for a successful and secure future for your loved one.

DON'T #5 | Procrastinate on Planning

Do. Not. Procrastinate on planning. Special needs planning is essential, and delaying the process can lead to unnecessary stress and financial challenges. Take the plunge and start today – after all, there's no time like the present! The sooner you begin, the more time you have to fine-tune your plan and ensure your loved one's future is as bright as possible.

There you have it, folks – the top 10 biggest do's and don'ts of special needs planning. Armed with this knowledge, you're well on your way to creating a comprehensive plan that secures a bright and fulfilling future for your loved one.

headshot of Bradley

Brian Ruh Owner, Financial Adviser

This material references 529 ABLE accounts, which are available through state sponsored programs. Please check with the applicable state programs for information on qualified expenses, eligibility, and contribution limits. Neither New York Life Insurance Company nor its agents offer these products or provide guidance on the investment options. Please seek guidance from the individual state programs regarding repayment from the Able account at the beneficiary’s death for the cost of care covered by Medicaid and the possible loss of SSI benefits due to a high account balance.

This material is for general informational purposes only and was produced by Action Financial Strategies, LLC. Life insurance is subject to underwriting. No coverage exists unless a policy is issued and the required premium is paid. Neither Action Financial Strategies nor NYLIFE Securities LLC or its affiliates provide tax, legal, or accounting advice. For advice on such matters, consult your own professional counsel.

Brian Ruh is a Member Agent of the Nautilus Group®, a Service of New York Life Insurance Company. Brian Ruh CA insurance license #OB66341. Brian and Bradley Ruh are collectively Registered Representatives of and offer securities products and services through NYLIFE Securities LLC. Member FINRA/SIPC, a Licensed Insurance Agency 999 Fourier Drive, Suite 300, Madison, WI 53717. (608)831-4416. Brian and Bradley Ruh are also collectively registered as Investment Adviser Representatives with Eagle Strategies LLC, a Registered Investment Adviser. Action Financial Strategies is not owned or operated by NYLIFE Securities or its affiliates.
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