Special Needs Planning

If something were to happen to you today, who would be there to protect the needs of your loved ones — especially those with special needs? A Special Needs Trust can help ensure they will have the resources necessary to live complete and fulfilling lives. 

According to “The National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs,” conducted in 2005-2006, 13.9% of U.S. children under the age of 18 (about 10.2 million children) have special health care needs. 1 This study found nearly 22% of households with children include at least one child with a special health care need.2   Furthermore...

  • One out of 9 children under the age of 18 in the US today receive special education services

  • Out of 72.3 million families included in the 2000 Census, about 2 in every 7 reported having at least one member with a disability

  • 20.9 million families have members with a disability

  • Of the 20.9 million families reporting at least one member with a disability, 5.5 percent have both adults and children with a disability

  • One in every 26 American families reported raising children with a disability

  • One in every three families with a female householder with no husband present reported members with a disability

  • An estimated 2.8 million families were raising at least one child aged 5 to 17 with a disability.*

* Source: “Disability and American Families: 2000,” US Census Bureau, July 2005 Report.

In the past 25 years, the definition of “special needs” has broadened, making financial and estate planning vital for the parents of these children. Think of all your current and possible future special needs-related expenses, such as special residential homes, employment assistance and other costs. And, while it may be tough to meet these obligations now, imagine the implications after you’re gone.

When carefully structured by an estate planning attorney, a Special Needs Trust could ensure your financial resources are able to provide a lifetime of quality care for your loved one. When creating a Special Needs Trust, ask yourself the following key questions:

  • What are the goals and objectives for my loved one, now and in the future, when I am no longer there to care for that person?

  • What is the average cost of my loved one’s supplemental needs above and beyond government benefits?

  • What level of support must you provide for other family members?

  • Who is the designated trustee(s)?

  • What funding vehicles should I use for my trust?

New York Life:

If you provide care for a person with special needs or wish to create a substantial gift, a Special Needs Trust can be of tremendous help. It’s one of the few estate-planning strategies that may not affect your loved one’s eligibility for Federal assistance.When funded by life insurance, a Special Needs Trust can provide an affordable solution that may multiply the value of your savings over the years. It’s an opportunity to ensure the care you give now will last a lifetime. 

To learn more about the use of life insurance in funding a Special Needs Trust, please contact New York Life agent Mary Anne Leichliter-Rice at mleichliter@ft.newyorklife.com or call her office at (919) 785-7112.

 1 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration. See www.mchb.hrsa.gov/cshcn05 (last reviewed 2/25/2011).

2 See note 1, supra.

3 Consult with local tax and legal advisors to see if state benefits may be affected.