An inside look at special needs financial planning : TSG Financial Strategies, LLC

An inside look at special needs financial planning

Mark and Austin Stratton are the parents of four awesome kids: Adaline, Maddox, Brylee, and Teagan. Their two oldest are typically developing and the two youngest have Cerebral Palsy, receiving therapy weekly and need special education. Mark and Austin have very specific goals they're working to achieve for their family, such as protecting government benefits, treating all their children equitably, and leaving money to Brylee and Teagan while preserving their public benefits.

A top concern amongst parents who have children with special needs is, “what happens when we’re gone?” According to the 2007 Census survey, more than 41 million Americans, or roughly 15% of the population, age 5 and older, have some type of disability and over 75 percent of adults with special needs do not have a job (Grassi, S.G. Special Planning is Needed for Families with a Special-Needs Child. Journal of Practical Estate Planning, 39-51). Also, the families described in the statistics are at a higher risk of being weighed down by the stress of their finances. If you were to ask a family that manages the challenges of caring for someone with special needs, they would likely agree that their focus is on the wellbeing of their loved one. But what happens if they neglect their financial planning?

Integrating your planning and your special needs planning, helps prevent the potential, negative impacts to the resources available to you and your family. That’s why reviewing your planning is paramount.

Here are a few questions to get you thinking:

  1. Do I need a Special Needs Trusts (first party, third party, or pooled trusts)?
  2. Should I incorporate ABLE Accounts?
  3. Do you need Guardianship or would an alternative to guardianship be better?

The data shows that 88% of parents who have a loved one with special needs have not set up a trust to preserve eligibility for benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Social Income (Grassi, S.G. Special Planning is Needed for Families with a Special-Needs Child. Journal of Practical Estate Planning, 39-51). To help combat this, Mark Stratton and TSG Financial Strategies, LLC have developed a series of webinars to empower families with information, reconsider their planning, and evaluate if any gaps exist.  The webinars will cover the process that Mark and his family used to effectively incorporate their personal planning, their special needs planning, and quantify the needs and resources for their youngest 2 kiddos.

We will also spend time exploring some of the pitfalls to avoid and delve into integrating your personal planning with the new planning needed for your loved one with special needs. Different types of accounts (i.e. IRA’s, Roth IRA’s, 401(k)’s, etc.,) are treated differently based on the different scenarios they play in your planning; some are better than others for different goals.

We hope you will tune into a webinar to hear more about how Mark and Austin dealt with receiving the news and some of the initial steps they too to embrace their new reality.  Our goal is to equip you with the information so that you can evaluate your personal and family’s situation. Join one of our upcoming webinars to get a more in-depth look at some of the considerations the Strattons took with their financial planning or schedule a session with Mark here.