IN Millcreek Summer 2017 - Page 71

NIAGARA network Helping People Move Forward with Their Lives. Special Needs Require Special Planning Parents of children with intellectual, physical, mental, or emotional disabilities dedicate countless hours to caring for their special needs, and face significant challenges in planning for their futures. Parenting a child with special needs requires that you rely on many doctors, teachers, therapists, care providers, and social service organizations to give you and your child the best recommendations and services at the right time. In addition, you must also trust yourself to make decisions that could impact your child’s future comfort, care, and development. Concerns about the future are very real. Where will your child live after you and your spouse are no longer alive? Who will care for your child, and where will the money come from? Thinking about the future can be challenging and emotional. Fortunately, some help is available from local, state, and federal programs to ease some of the monetary demands on the family. In addition, there are private groups that can help with long-term care. If you wish you provide the highest level of care, you will need to plan for many scenarios and develop a plan for the best possible use of funds. Part of future planning is creating a guide for a person with a disability that will help him/her lead as good a life, as independently, as possible. A plan is important throughout all stages of life and especially in the future after the parent or caregiver is no longer able to provide support. It is very important for families to have a Future Planning Guide that will ensure that the disabled family member’s needs are met day to day, on special occasions and in times of emergency. The Future Planning Guide should include the details of the disabled family member’s health history and finances as well as his/her experiences with life and learning, family and friends, and likes and dislikes. It should reflect the wishes of the person with the disability, as well as his or her parents, siblings, extended family members and friends, and other important people in their life. When planning for the future, families have to consider, among other things, Last Will and Testament, Advanced Directives, Power of Attorney, Guardianship, Government Benefits, Future Living Situation, Special Needs Trust and ABLE Accounts. Meeting with an attorney who is knowledgeable in Special Needs Planning and aware of state disability laws is the first step in planning for the future. Future planning also includes saving money and protecting assets for a loved one with a disability without compromising their vital government benefits, such a Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This can be done through the different types of Special Needs Trusts and/or an ABLE Account. Continued on next page > Millcreek | Summer 2017 | 69