Special Needs Planning

My Story

I’ll never forget the day when the doctor told me about Jakob’s diagnosis. The combined feelings of being scared, confused and sad were overwhelming.

My special needs journey started when my son, Jakob, turned 2½ and was diagnosed with autism. Immediately, my mind started racing ahead thinking about his future. Will he be able to go to school? Will he have a job? Go to college? Live Independently…? It took some time before I started to focus on the things that I can do for him right then. I know as parents of special kids we have a lot to deal with and on my journey, I was sometimes confused and made mistakes. That’s why I developed the Life Care Tool Kit™ to help you figure out what you can be doing right now no matter what stage of the journey you are on.

Access Life Care Tool Kit

Life Care Plan Tool Kit

Learn how to be a strong advocate for your child

When Jakob was 2 it was a daily revolving door of therapists. It seemed like someone was always at the house working with him and progress was slow.

Develop a plan with early intervention to get services - speech, physical therapy, occupational therapy, Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA)...

Download Guide

Put together an estate plan that names someone as a guardian for your children in case you and/or your spouse prematurely pass away.

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It might also make sense to have a special needs trust.

Learn More

Make sure that you have the right amount of life insurance in place in the event something happens to you.

Get an Estimate

School is in session!

This was a critical time in Jakob’s development. I had frequent meetings with his team at school to make sure he was making progress. We didn’t always agree and it often felt like we would take two steps forward and one step back.

Develop a plan with your school district to get the services you think your child needs.

Download Guide

Consider applying for Medicaid (MassHealth) for your child to cover additional medical expenses/therapies.

Learn How

Create or review your estate plan. Sometimes the people you chose to play critical roles (guardians, trustees, executor ...) in your plan no longer make sense.

Learn more

Put together a detailed road map about your child and what you want for them (Letter of Intent).

Download Letter of Intent

Review your overall financial plan. With the addition of unexpected expenses, the future you envisioned might look differently.

Need help?

Think about alternative ways you can save for your child's current and future needs.

Learn More

Review your life insurance plan. Depending on your child's long term needs you might want to consider having permanent life insurance.

 

Time to start thinking about Transition

Jakob started to really come into his own. This was the period of time where he grew the most in terms of self-confidence and skill development. It was also filled with uncertainty as he approached his senior year in high school and where life would take us next.

Request a pre-IEP Transition Planning meeting and start thinking about post-secondary school goals for your child.

Download Goal Examples

Ask the school to make a 688 referral in order to start the process of getting eligible for various government services.

Learn More

Your vision of their future might be clearer and will necessitate some changes to your financial plan. You should consider that you might have to provide some level of financial support for your entire life.

Need Help?

Review or update your estate plan and make sure you have considered a special needs trust.

Learn More

Review your life insurance since this might be a good funding source for your special needs trust.

Learn More

Put together a detailed road map about your child and what you want for them (Letter of Intent).

Download Intent Template

Start building a team of people to help you. We call this a Circle of Support. It might include family, friends, teachers, social workers. In the beginning it might be just one other person but the idea is to grow this over time.

 

18 is a critical age!

When Jakob turned 18, we started applying for benefits. All the advice I had given to clients over the years about this process definitely came in handy. Despite this, dealing with government agencies is slow and frustrating at times.

Prior to turning 18 you need to consider if guardianship is right for your family.

Learn About Guardianship

You should consider applying for supplemental security income (SSI) and learn about eligibility.

Learn More

Ask the school to make a 688 referral in order to start the process of getting eligible for various government services.

Learn More

Start thinking about what type of housing your child will be living in the future and apply for a section 8 voucher to help with funding. It could take many years to get it so do it now!

Need help?

Review or update your estate plan and make sure you have considered a special needs trust.

Learn More

Review your life insurance since this might be a good funding source for your special needs trust.

Learn More

Put together a detailed road map about your child and what you want for them (Letter of Intent).

Download Intent Template

School life is ending...what's next?

My hope is that Jakob will continue to make progress and be able to live independently one day. Many things are still uncertain but I am hopeful about his future.

Prior to turning 22, you want to meet with various state agencies who will be providing adult services to your child.

Learn More

Develop a housing strategy. They might not be moving out anytime soon but it's never too soon or too late to plan and apply for a Section 8 voucher.

Need help?

Review or update your estate plan and make sure you have considered a special needs trust.

Learn More

Review your life insurance since this might be a good funding source for your special needs trust.

Learn More

Put together a detailed road map about your child and what you want for them (Letter of Intent).

Download Intent Template

Just because school is ending doesn't mean that your child will stop learning. Think about what types of skills you want to keep working on and who can help.

 

Life Care Planning Process

Step 1

Crystalize your
Goals and Objectives

Learn More

Step 2

Learn about
your child

Learn More

Step 3

Collect accurate
hard data

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Step 4

Collaborate with our Team about you

Learn More

Step 5

Construct your
personal financial plan

Learn More

Step 7

Collaborative
strategy session

Learn More

Step 8

Implementation Plan

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Step 9

On-going monitoring

Learn More

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Crystalize your Goals and Objectives

Meet with your Personal Financial Coach and tell us about what’s important to you.

Learn about your child

We will spend some time talking about your child’s strengths and challenges. This will give us a better understanding how government benefits fit into your plan.

Collect accurate hard data

Make sure we have an accurate financial picture of you and sign up for your Personal Financial Portal.

Collaborate with our Team about you

We get a team of multi-disciplined professionals together who will be involved in your plan.

Construct your personal financial plan

We analyze everything from your investments to your estate plan and then we stress test to give you personalized recommendations.

Collaborative strategy session

We will discuss our observations and results with you to get your feedback and go over different options to make sure the plan makes sense to you.

Implementation Plan

We will help you prioritize what to do first and make sure that your plan gets done. Since we are product agnostic, we can search for the products that best fit you.

On-going monitoring

We will continue to work with you and monitor the plan. Sometimes even the best mapped out plans veer off course.

Workshops

Below is a schedule of upcoming workshops:

November 2 Saturday

Planning a Life: Transition Considerations for Your Child’s Future presented at The Transition Symposium
Where: Ivy Street School 200 Ivy St. Brookline, MA 02446
Time: 2:15PM

November 5 Tuesday

Special Needs Planning: Coordinating Your Special Needs Financial and Estate Plan
Where: Alternatives ABA 76 Accord Park Drive Norwell, MA 02061
Time: 6PM

February 13 Thursday

Planning a Life: Transition Considerations for Your Child’s Future presented attorney Ken Shulman
Where: Medford SEPAC Andrews Middle School 489 Winthrop St. Medford, MA 02155
Time: 7:00PM

March 26 Tuesday

Planning a Life: Transition Considerations for Your Child’s Future
Where: Thrive Family Support 65 Boston Post Rd. West Marlborough, MA 01752
Time: 6:00PM

Hope to see you at one of our workshops!

Please feel free to pass onto to other families who could benefit from this valuable information!

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