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The High Cost of Special Needs Requires a Plan

By Christina T. Vidoli

About a quarter of U.S. households have a member with special needs and more than 8 percent of kids under the age of 15 have a disability.  The spectrum of special-needs children ranges from mental to physical to psychological and sometimes all three.  Aside from the emotional toll it takes on these families, the financial strain such a diagnosis puts on the family is often overlooked.

A story from CNNMoney, tells one family’s account of caring for their five-years-old son, Finn, and brings light to some of the tough financial choices common to so many families.

Unless you are extremely wealthy, there’s never enough money.  Caring for a child with special needs requires a combination of government benefits and personal expenditures. As a result, it is even more important for families with children to establish an estate plan which will take into account the unique needs of their child both while the parents with a disability are able to care for their child and after they are gone.

When planning for a special needs family member, advice of an attorney with expertise in disability planning is essential, as relevant laws, regulations and planning options continue to evolve.  A qualified attorney can help parents weigh the advantages and disadvantages of various estate planning tools, such as special needs trusts, and techniques to ensure appropriate decisions are made that will provide protection and financial security for family member with special needs who will often need assistance for the rest of his or her life.

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