According to the CDC, 27.2 percent of Georgia adults have at least one disability. This statistic does not include the many Georgia children who are growing up with special needs. When you’re caring for a loved one with special needs, it’s incredibly hard to imagine what their life will be like after you’re gone. As a primary caretaker, you do a phenomenal job of providing love and meeting all of their physical, mental, and social needs. Although it’s challenging to face, you won’t always be there to provide this care. The best thing to do is to start making a plan now to ensure their health and happiness in the future! At Smith Barid, our goal is to make this experience as smooth and straight forward as possible. Let’s begin by taking a look at seven tips that will help you plan for your special needs loved one’s care.
1. Assess Your Finances
The first thing you need to do is take a long look at your financial situation, including your liquid assets and your non-liquid assets (such as your house, your car, and valuable art). While putting together a financial portfolio, you should factor in any debts that you may be paying off in the present. Remember to make a rough estimate of your cost of living and how that will impact the value of the assets you leave behind.
2. Consider Housing and Care Options
Do you intend to purchase a home or apartment for your special needs loved one? If so, do you know what at-home care service you would like to use and how much those services cost? Alternatively, you may want your loved one to move into a group home that caters to special needs folks. It’s important to know what those monthly or bi-monthly expenses will look like and how you will fund them. Remember, Medicaid and SSI do not cover housing expenses, so these will need to come out of your loved one’s inherited assets.
3. Factor in Medical Expenses
If your loved one is eligible for Medicaid, a portion of their medical expenses, such as annual preventative checkups, will be covered. However, any specialized care to assist with their special needs will have to come out of pocket. Depending on the nature of your loved one’s conditions, medical care will likely take up a good percentage of their financial needs.
4. Decide Upon Transportation
If your loved one will have an apartment or home of their own, on what mode of transportation should they rely? Do they have any mobility equipment, such as a wheelchair, that determines what is and is not accessible to them? Many at-home care services provide transportation for their clients. However, if the vehicle of choice is one that you own, yourself, you will need to decide upon a trustworthy driver. You will also want to consider any maintenance costs that may come up down the road.
5. Discuss Recreational and Cultural Activities
One of the many reasons we plan for our special needs loved ones’ care in advance is to ensure that they have an excellent quality of life! It’s not all about medical and housing needs. There’s also room for fun experiences. Talk to your loved one about the activities they want to participate in during their lifetime. Perhaps there are sports games or concerts they enjoy attending or hobbies they’d like to pursue. If possible, allot money for tickets, equipment, or materials they may need to live a full and happy life.
6. Choose Your Special Needs Trust
A Special Needs Trust is the best way to make sure that all of your plans come to fruition. One of the reasons many people choose to establish a Special Needs Trust is because this allows your loved one access to the funds they need without rendering them ineligible for Medicaid or SSI. There are three different kinds of Special Needs Trusts. You or any other caretaker can establish two of the types of trust during your lifetime. These are called First Party Special Needs Trusts and Third Party Supplemental Needs Trusts. You establish a First Party SNT using the assets owned by the beneficiary. We tend to use these when a special needs individual has received an inheritance, a settlement from a court claim, or a large donation. A third party creates a Third-Party Supplemental Needs Trust using assets owned by you, a grandparent, or another legal guardian. The Third-Party Supplemental Needs Trust is an ideal choice when you intend to leave your loved one an inheritance after you pass away but don’t want them to lose any social benefits for which they qualify. The third option is a Pooled Trust, which is an option that involves the assistance of a non-profit.
7. Work with Experienced Estate Planners
There is a lot to consider when setting up your Special Needs Trust. The best way to pursue it is to work with attorneys experienced in special needs estate planning! At Smith Barid, we don’t just offer advice. We walk you through your financial situation and the plan that works best for you and your loved one. With our experience and approach, you’ll have the completed documents you need within 30-45 days of our first meeting.
Helping Savannah, Georgia Plan Special Needs Care One Family at a Time
If you live in Savannah, Georgia, and you need assistance planning for your special needs loved one’s care, Smith Barid is here to help. We use our experience and financial expertise to help you establish the Special Needs Trust that will work best for you and your loved one. Contact us today to set up a consultation. We know how hard you work to provide a great life for your loved one. We promise to work hard to make sure that your loved one is provided for after you’re gone.