by Guest Columnist, Jackie Waters
If you are the parent of a special needs child, you already know how important it is to prepare for the future. A number of issues can come forward during both childhood and adulthood. Your job is to plan ahead, preventing these problems from doing serious harm.
The biggest change that will occur during your child’s lifetime is the loss of his or her parents. This is a frustrating concept to consider. It can be difficult to imagine the future of your child without you. Who will look out for his or her best interests?
However, the harsh reality is that, someday, that moment will come. When it does, you want to have living arrangements, education, financial, and medical plans in place for your child.
There are many uncertainties when it comes to the future, especially if you start planning when your child is still young. Will an older sibling be able to step up? Is there a program in the community that can help? What friends or family members will be available to provide care?
These are all questions to consider as you make tough decisions.
1. Monetary Needs
She Knows offers some important things to consider when making plans for your child’s future. For example, when it comes to finances, never leave your child a large inheritance. Instead, pool your money into a special needs trust. This will ensure your son or daughter stays eligible for government benefits – even after you’re gone.
The article also suggests that you see a specialist and an estate planning attorney before making any concrete decisions. These resources can help you tailor plans to your specific situation. The amount of money you leave behind, and the method you use to transfer it, will depend on the needs of your child.
Not all special needs children will need constant care for life. Many of them will be able to start a career, further their education, and start their own family. The ability of your child to function independently will make a serious difference in the planning process.
2. Medical Issues
It’s important to put any medical wishes for your child down in writing. That way, if something happens to both parents at once, a guardian or trustee will know what to do in case of an emergency. You should also consider making a will shortly after your child is born. While the concept is morbid, it guarantees that your child will have security (and that your wishes will be honored by law) should something tragic happen.
3. Future Living Arrangements
Special Needs Answers offers a comprehensive guide on living arrangements for adults with special needs.While you might have a friend or family member in mind to care for your child if something happens to you, it is also important to have future plans in mind. Once your child is grown, a professional care system may become necessary.
Hopefully, your child will be done with school by the time he or she is forced to live without you. Still, the future of your special needs child depends on the education programs available in your community. It can be difficult to watch your child struggle. It can be even more difficult to know you won’t always be around to help. You can learn more about accessing special education programs through Exceptional Lives. The step-by-step process will ease your mind and provide the ideas you need to develop a plan.
It can be hard to think about your child’s life continuing without your love and care. Still, preparing for your child’s future is one of the most important things you’ll ever do – and it shouldn’t wait.
Jackie Waters is a mother of four boys, and lives on a farm in Oregon. She is passionate about providing a healthy and happy home for her family, and aims to provide advice for others on how to do the same with her site Hyper-Tidy.com. She was inspired to write this article from her own family and planning experiences.