April 02, 2012

How important are trends in Special Needs Planning? They are everything. Why? Take the 1115 People First Waiver that is about to be implemented in New York. Have you taken the time to think about how your child will be affected? Is he or she likely to be helped or hurt in the new system of adult services?

What is the trend when it comes to housing? What type of housing is likely to be available? Will your child have access to a group home? How about an independent living arrangement with supports? Or will your child likely be living at home with you? What will you need to consider in each of these possibilities?

Have you considered technology? Will your child—in all probability—live longer due to technological and medical advancements? Have you taken that into consideration when funding your trust? Won’t that likely translate into a requirement for more assets to provide for financial security for your special needs child? And how will this affect the division of your estate???

What about going green? How is this going to affect your child? It will, by the way.

What about medical care? The developmentally disabled population requires more medical care than the typical population. What kind of care will likely be available? What about choice—of doctors, dentists, types of medical care? What opportunities will present themselves? Will you be positioned to take advantage of them?

What about YOUR assets? What are the trends with regard to protection of those assets? What will happen if either you or your spouse requires long term care sometime in the future? (The chance of you or your spouse requiring long term care is approximately 1 in 2—50%–if you both live to age 65.) Yes, I know. You and I won’t need long term care. It’s the other 50% of the population. The question is: Do you want to bet your child’s future on it? If not, what can you do to help protect your assets for your child?

Life is not a snapshot. It is not an event. It is a process…a journey. So is Special Needs Planning…and it is vital that we view it as such. Especially in this environment of government fiscal crisis combined with unprecedented technological and medical advancement.

Awareness of trends is not an option. Neither is planning early. Both are integral to your child’s future opportunities and financial security.

Check this blog for a continuing conversation on trends and other special needs-related subjects.