Special needs trusts: Helping parents provide for kids' futures
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Written by: Jennifer Woods
Saturday, 31 May 2014 | 2:00 PM ETCNBC.com
Caring for children with special needs can require a lot of financial and logistical planning to ensure they're experiencing the best quality of life possible.
But what many parents don't adequately plan for is the possibility that they won't be around to manage and fund their child's care. Not having a well-thought-out plan—or having no plan at all—to care for children with special needs once you're unable to could have a devastating impact on their lifestyle and well-being.
"One of the biggest things for special needs parents, and what I worry about more than anything, is [whether] my son [will] be provided for as well in the future, after I'm gone, as he is now," said certified financial planner Ken Van Leeuwen, managing director at Van Leeuwen & Co. and father of a teenage son with special needs.
"When you come to the realization that your child has special needs, you need to start planning," he said, adding, "You want to try as best as you can to keep your child in the same lifestyle. You don't want them to be just dependent on federal or state programs."
The government offers medical and financial assistance to people with special needs through programs such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income to offset the high costs of care. Unfortunately, these programs, at best, support a person at the poverty line.