Developmental disabilities awareness month; finances
DELMARVA – As we round out March, we’re highlighting Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, a time to recognize the tools needed to plan for a family member who has special needs.
According to Alejandro Jerez, a Certified Financial Planner Professional with Heritage Financial Consultants, headquartered in Hunt Valley, Maryland, and Investment Advisor Representative of Lincoln Financial Advisors, Member SIPC, who also has a brother with special needs tells 47 ABC, financial and estate planning can be tricky when it comes to those with a disability. However, common tools are in place for special needs planning.
A Special Needs Trust, where families can put away money in a trust to care for their loved one, which won’t interfere with the child’s eligibility for federal benefits like Medicaid and supplemental security income. Or a second option is the ‘ABLE’ account, which offers a tax-advantaged way to save money without impacting eligibility for government benefits.
However, one of the most important steps you can take is creating a life care plan, basically a blueprint for providing peace of mind that goes beyond finances. “Financial planning covers your basic needs of food and shelter, and your additional planning and the special needs letter of intent covers their life and things that they just enjoy,” says Jerez. He adds, “Look at what avenues you have whether someone has a disability or later on has an onset it’s always good to get started early just like our personal planning, there are things if we wait too long, we miss out on opportunities.”
Now if your loved one uses Medicaid, Jerez also says Medicaid can help with transportation, occupational therapy, and options that go beyond health insurance. He says the first step is simply talking to your financial planner if you have a loved one with special needs.
Heritage Financial Consultants is not an affiliate of Lincoln Financial Advisors. Lincoln Financial Advisors and its representatives do not offer tax or legal advice. Individuals should consult their tax or legal professionals regarding their specific circumstances. Securities and investment advisory services are offered through Lincoln Financial Advisors Corp., a broker/dealer, and a registered investment advisor. Member SIPC.