An Education Focused Service of A Special Needs Plan

What is Special Needs Planning?

What is Special Needs Planning?

What is Special Needs Planning?

Special Needs Planning is a process to secure your and your loved one’s future. It can be complex, as you blend your needs with your loved one’s, as you determine how to utilize all available government benefits, and as you assemble an effective legal and financial strategy. For most families this process will include discussion of Wills, Trusts, Guardian-ship, Education on Government Benefits, defining your vision for your loved one’s life, ensuring proper care-giving, how to provide resources for your loved one’s lifetime, and more.

Join Now to read the full article

Planning With Hope

Planning With Hope

Hope for our children is important to our belief system as parents.

We do all that we can to ensure our children have the brightest and best futures possible. As you know, this is no different for parents with Autistic children. Truly, parents that have a special needs loved one hold onto hope and to the vision of their children living in their fullest potential.

Join Now to read the full article

Securing a Future for Your Child With Disabilities

Ryan Platt Featured in article written by AARP.org

Securing a Future for Your Child With Disabilities

News Date: 01/29/2011
Outlet: AARP.org
Contact: Cynthia Ramnarace

Seven steps parents need to take before they die.

Six years ago, Jackie and Alan McDonald wondered how they would pay for their son Brendan’s college education. Today they stay awake at night worrying about how they will afford to take care of him for the rest of his life.

Join Now to read the full article

Financial Planning Critical for Children with Special Needs

Financial Planning Critical for Children with Special Needs

As you drive around Charlotte, you may see the billboards that tell us "Every 20 minutes a child is diagnosed with Autism." Most of us have heard more and more about autism over the years. The reason for that is that in the 1970s only 1 in 2,000 people were diagnosed with autism, and now, according to the Center for Disease Control, it is 1 in 110 - a twentyfold increase.

What you may not know is the impact autism, and other special needs, have on the family, especially their financial outlook.

Join Now to read the full article

7 Planning Tips For Parents

7 Planning Tips For Parents

1. Will / Designating a Guardian. While a will and the designation of a guardian after a parent is unable to care for a minor child is important, it is critical for those parents of children with special needs. This is usually a very difficult decision, due to the fact families feel they do not want to burden a friend or family member with the life-long commitment of caring for their child. In some cases, the care needs of the child may be nso demanding that a guardian other than his or her siblings will be required. Parents need to make this determination while they still can, and the designation of the guardian will be done within their will.

Join Now to read the full article

Special Schools & Institutions

Special Schools and Institutions planning information

The law states that all children are entitled to an equal and appropriate (public) education. Unfortunately, many public schools do not have the facilities or the programs to handle the needs of mentally or physically disabled children.

It is therefore necessary for these children to attend special schools that have the ability to provide them the proper education environment, as well as helping to alleviate the handicap of the child. If the cost of these schools is not covered by the government or school district the parents must pay the tuition. This tuition is a deductible medical expense (subject to the 7.5% Adjusted Gross Income limitation).

Join Now to read the full article

Trusts - Part I

special needs trusts information

Trusts are used in many situations in order to protect and preserve assets. For families in a special needs situation they are normally used to protect the ability to qualify for government benefits such as SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and Medicaid. They are also used to supplement these government benefits to provide the highest quality of life possible for your loved one. The assets within a “Special Needs Trust” are used for those items that government benefits do not provide for, such as:
Join Now to read the full article

New Study Points to Autism's Environmental Triggers

New Study Points to Autism's Environmental Triggers

Surprising findings suggest surroundings may be on par with genetics in determining risk.
By Peter Fulham from a study at Stanford University and UCSF

An infant's environment may be just as important as genetics in determining the risk of developing autism, according to a new study.

The study, from Stanford and the University of California-San Francisco, looked at 192 pairs of twins, both identical and fraternal, and used a mathematical model to project that environmental factors accounted for as much as 55 percent of the risk of developing the disorder.

Join Now to read the full article

Trusts - Part II

trusts special needs planning

A special needs individual can have multiple trusts. It is possible to have grandparents that do not want to participate in the trust set up by parents, but instead want to create their own supplemental or third party trust—that is well within the law. Please, as a grandparent & parent, confirm that your trust is set up properly.

Why is it important to have a Special Needs or Supplemental Needs Trust?

It allows your loved one to qualify for needs based government benefits, SSI and Medicaid. For most families, Medicaid is of primary importance because of all the medical and health expenses that Medicaid will pay.

Join Now to read the full article

Special Needs Planning Is NOT a Sprint

Special Needs Planning Is NOT a Sprint

Unlike some areas of legal and financial planning like "employment discrimination law" or allocating your investment portfolio, or buying insurance, special needs planning does not focus on one specific principle or topic. Instead, it encompasses a broad array of subjects that people with special needs and their families encounter, from estate planning to government benefits to guardianship to advocacy to determining lifetime financial needs to housing to health care to future care-giving to tax strategies and more.

Join Now to read the full article

Will

special needs will planning and information

A will is the legal instrument that permits a person, the testator, to make decisions on how his estate will be managed and distributed after his death.

A will serves a variety of important purposes. It enables a person to select his heirs rather than allowing the state laws of descent and distribution to choose the heirs, who, although blood relatives, might be people the testator dislikes or with whom he is unacquainted. A will allows a person to decide which individual could best serve as the executor of his estate, distributing the property fairly to the beneficiaries while protecting their interests, rather than allowing a court to appoint a stranger to serve as administrator. A will safeguards a person's right to select an individual to serve as guardian to raise his young children in the event of his death.

Join Now to read the full article

Special Needs Families Meet With White House Officials

Special Needs Families Meet With White House Officials to oppose medicaid cuts

Congress and the President continue to discuss long-term solutions to our nation's fiscal puzzle, with many calling for significant changes to the Medicare and Medicaid programs. At a recent White House meeting, families of people with special needs had the opportunity to explain to some very high-ranking administration officials just how painful some of these proposed changes could be.

Join Now to read the full article

Hiring the Right Professionals

Hiring the Right Professionals

By Ryan F. Platt, MBA
Founder of A Special Needs Plan

Beginning of the year always re-energizes and re-focuses families on many different areas of life. One of those areas is planning, especially planning for the secure future of their loved one with special needs. We have received several phone calls and emails from families regarding this very topic.

Join Now to read the full article

Selecting a Future Caregiver for your Loved One

Selecting a Future Caregiver for your Loved One

Selecting a Future Caregiver for your loved one (when you are no longer here) is usually one of the most difficult decisions in planning for the future. When selecting a Future Caregiver you want to consider that person's geographic location, Family Situation, Age, Experience with Special Needs, Knowledge of your loved one, your loved one's comfort level with them, and that person's career (ie. Do they travel extensively for work?)

In our next post we will discuss the questions you need to answer for those Future Caregivers before you should ask them to step into that role.

Join Now to read the full article

Guardianship

Guardianship

Depending on the State in which you live, you will also hear the term Conservator or Conservatorship. For the most part, a Conservator and Guardian are one in the same.

The law presumes that once an individual attains the age of 18 they are considered an adult, which means they are competent to make their own decisions, to enter in to contracts, and to be responsible for themselves and all the decisions they make. For most individuals with a developmental or cognitive disability they are unable to make these decisions. However, the law does not single them out. At age 18 they are treated like every other adult in our society.

Join Now to read the full article

Completing The Entire Puzzle

A Special Needs Trust is Only One Piece of the Puzzle

Families with a Special Needs Loved One are challenged with the day-to-day responsibilities of care and the weight of planning for the future. Families understand the significance of having a Special Needs Trust that is designed by a qualified attorney. A properly designed Trust clearly designates how resources and assets will be used, ensures the continuation of future government benefits, and most importantly, it helps to secure the Loved One's quality of life.

Join Now to read the full article

Beneficiary Designations

Beneficiary Designations

Are your Beneficiaries hurting or helping your child?
By Ryan F. Platt, Founder of A Special Needs Plan, Inc.

When you think about the future care giving for your child with Autism, you certainly understand that you must pass as much of your assets and money to them as possible to provide them the best possible life when you are no longer here. When we think about this transfer of money, we think of setting up a Will and possibly a Special Needs Trust. These two legal tools are most likely necessities in that process, but they are not the only tool you must use due to the fact there are several other ways that assets and property may pass at your death.

Join Now to read the full article

We All Have it in Common

We All Have it in Common death special needs planning information

By Ryan F. Platt

We all have it in common: DEATH. I know this seems morbid but let me explain. I have had two close friends die in the past 18 months, both of whom were in their 40's, both of whom had children, a spouse, a mortgage, bills to pay, car loans, credit cards, and nothing that surrounded their life stopped on the day they did. The children had to go to school, they still needed clothes and food, the mortgage company wanted the mortgage payment, credit cards and car loans had to be paid, the light bill, the cable company, the gas company – they all wanted their money, and they weren't concerned that the major income for the household was gone! Unfortunately, there were no plans in place, and the result for one of the families was a foreclosed home, sale of cars, and children ripped out of their known environment in utter devastation.

Join Now to read the full article

The Fair and Equal Conversation

The Fair and Equal Conversation

By: Ryan F. Platt, MBA
Founder, A Special Needs Plan

This conversation is important if you have more than one child, and one of your children has Special Needs and the other(s) do not. The Fair and Equal Conversation™ centers around the amount you leave to each child when both parents die. In Families that do not have a loved with Special Needs, Fair and Equal are usually the same. For instance, if you have 2 children without a disability then usually each child will receive 50% of the parents remaining assets. This is fair and also equal.

Join Now to read the full article

Choosing A Guardian is Critical

Choosing A Guardian is Critical

By Ryan F. Platt, MBA
Founder of A Special Needs Plan

For most parents, guardianship is the largest obstacle to beginning A Special Needs Plan™.

  • Who is the best person to care for your loved one if you get sick or die?
  • Is the person or family you are considering experienced in caring for an individual with special needs?
  • Does the person fully understand the scope of this life-long commitment?

Join Now to read the full article