Unfortunately, few parents of children with special needs fully appreciate what is at stake and how to protect it. To make matters worse, too few professional financial planners are versed on the need to provide a long-term solution for such children, especially with shrinking public assistance benefits looming in the future.
The New York Times recently provided a mini-primer of sorts on the subject titled "Assuring Care of a Family Member With Special Needs." While the meaning of "proper planning" will vary from one family to another, given different needs, there are many tools to employ ranging from special needs trusts to life insurance. The key is to know which ones to use... and how.
As the article notes, special needs planning is only going to grow in importance as funds available for public assistance programs - Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, etc. – become more restricted and even uncertain.
Reference: The New York Times (October 5, 2012) "Assuring Care of a Family Member With Special Needs"