Questions to ask your financial planner if you have a loved one with special needs

When you first hear the news that someone you love has special needs, it feels like your world completely stops. There’s so much information to download all at once, from how to care for them to what next steps to take. Thinking about how to financially be set up for success can seem daunting. Mark and his wife, Austin, walked through this experience with both their youngest daughters and he now meets his clients from both a personal and professional perspective.

Today, we’re sharing questions that are important to ask your financial planner because who you choose to walk with you through this financially will determine quite frankly, a lot about your future. It doesn’t need to be overwhelming, but it does need to be strategic. Remember that planning for families that have a loved one with special needs requires specific knowledge about a lot of areas and many times, financial planners only focus on one or two of these areas. That’s why it’s important to know what questions to ask them.

Here are questions to ask your financial planner if you have a loved one with special needs:

  1. What designations do they have?

    Qualified financial planners have designations in financial planning, meaning you’ll typically see ChFC® or CFP® designations. For special needs, there is a specific designation- ChSNC®.  The Chartered Special Needs Consultant® designation requires specific training and education related to what a family with special needs may face.

  2. What is their background?

    It’s up to you how in-depth you want to go, but it is important to know what experience they have. Specifically, how long they’ve been in the financial industry and how they work with families like yours.

  3. Are they serving as a Fiduciary?

    You want your planner to be unbiased and an objective part of your team. Not everyone in the financial services industry serves as a Fiduciary.  In fact, many do not. The financial industry has a best interest standard that certain types of accounts are subject to, but that is not the same as serving as a Fiduciary.  A Fiduciary must avoid conflicts of interest and center their advice, analysis, and recommendations around you and put you first.

    Are they able to address all areas of your planning?

    Are they knowledgeable in government benefits, various disabilities and upcoming changes to the law that will affect planning? It’s important to pick someone who has a comprehensive approach to your planning.

Ask as many questions as you need to feel like you can trust them. If you’d like to set up a call to discuss special needs financial planning with Mark, LUTCF®, CFP®, ChSNC®, you can fill out the form here and register for our next webinar here.