Who Will Care for Your Special Needs Child When You’re Gone?

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Financial planning is often more complicated for special needs families. Knowing what to expect, and connecting with a skilled financial advisor, can help ensure that you child is well cared for after you’re gone.

Key takeaways:

  • If you’re raising a child with special needs, you may face additional expenses and ongoing costs related to their care.
  • That can make planning for the future an overwhelming task. Government resources and the right financial products can help you build a plan that works for your family.
  • Smart financial planning can also provide peace of mind while you work toward other financial goals.


Financial planning is important for every family, but if you have a child with special needs, you probably need a more nuanced approach. Caring for a disabled child doesn’t stop when they turn 18. It’s a lifelong journey that’s fueled by love and the desire to give your children the best life possible. At JJ Burns & Company, our advisors lead with empathy and put your long-term financial goals first. We help special needs families plan for the future while enjoying life today. At the center of that is figuring out who will care for your child after you’re gone.

Understand Your Child’s Unique Needs

Every diagnosis is different. Connect with your child’s support team to better understand what their future may look like. Their medical providers, teachers and therapists can provide a wealth of knowledge, especially if they’ve been working with your child for a while.

Other parents who’ve been in your shoes can also be an invaluable resource. Consider joining support groups to help you get plugged into your community. How are older children and young adults navigating their diagnosis? Some may be living independently while others live in a group setting with other special needs adults. Beyond their living situation, your child may continue to need special supports as they move through adulthood. That might include:

  • Assistive technology
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech and language services
  • Ongoing medical care
  • Mental health services

These services all come at a cost—and the sooner you begin planning, the better.

Plan for the Present

Short-term financial needs and goals are just as important as the future. Your costs may include:

  • Private school tuition
  • Tutors and education specialists
  • Out-of-pocket costs related to medical appointments and therapy services
  • Loss of income if you or your partner cut back at work to care for your child

An experienced financial advisor can help you build a personalized plan that balances today, tomorrow and beyond. Your retirement will be front and center. While caring for a child with special needs, it’s easy to push your own needs onto the back burner. Devoting all your resources to your children could leave you unprepared for your golden years. A strong financial plan makes room for everything so that you can save for multiple goals at once.

Know Your Resources

A strong support system can help keep you in the know. You might connect with another parent who tells you about a great therapy provider or state resources you didn’t know about. For example, some states provide private school scholarships to students with unique abilities. Your financial advisor can also help you take advantage of the following resources:

  • Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) accounts: With an ABLE account, you could set aside up to $100,000 that can be used for expenses related to your child’s disability. This money won’t affect their government aid eligibility. Like a 529 plan, contribution limits apply, but your money will grow tax-free. A state income tax deduction might also be on the table.
  • Special Needs Trusts (SNTs): When your child grows into an adult, having money in a traditional trust could disqualify them from certain government benefits. SNTs, on the other hand, are excluded from their assets. This type of trust can hold inheritances, real estate and more.
  • Government aid: As your child moves into their teen years, you can start exploring relevant government aid for when they come of age. Supplemental Security Income, for example, can provide monthly income payments to disabled adults. You can also look into Medicaid benefits to help cover their health care needs.

Estate planning is another important piece of the puzzle. This can help ensure that your children are well cared for after you’re gone and that your assets will be passed on in the most efficient way. You’ll want a financial advisor who has experience working with special needs families. As a longtime advisor, it’s one of the most meaningful parts of my job. Get some time on the calendar with JJ Burns & Company to start building your plan. Consider having a chat with JJ Burns & Company to embark on crafting a personalized plan for special needs planning secure a thriving furure for your family.

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