Put Together Your Financial Plan
Estate Planning. This refers to steps individuals or couples take to direct what will happen to their money and other assets after death. One aspect of future planning, this process is helpful for people in all types of financial situations. Most people want to direct how their money or assets will be distributed, minimize taxes as well as choose who will care for their minor children. Your parents may name people who will provide support for you. They may accomplish this by setting up a plan that includes a will, letter of intent, special needs trust and/or other pertinent documents.
Note: Your family should seek an attorney who understands not only estate planning issues but who also is knowledgeable about government benefits and understands the needs of people with disabilities.
Government benefits. Both financial assistance and health care benefits are very important for people with disabilities. Many parents think that they should not leave money to their child with a disability or their child will lose public benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid. Please discuss this with your lawyer, as money left outright to a child could jeopardize benefits if assets are above the statutory threshold.
The fact that someone is receiving benefits should be incentive to begin planning. A plan can ensure that a person keeps needed benefits and is able to use the additional assistance from family to purchase items that government benefits do not cover to enrich his/her quality of life.
The Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014 (ABLE) states that its purpose is to (1) encourage and assist individuals and families in saving private funds for the purpose of supporting individuals with disabilities to maintain health, independence, and quality of life; and (2) provide secure funding for disability-related expenses of beneficiaries with disabilities that will supplement, but not supplant, benefits provided through private insurance, title XVI (Supplemental Security Income) and title XIX (Medicaid) of the Social Security Act, the beneficiary’s employment, and other sources.
What else do you need to know about the ABLE Act? Michael Morris, Executive Director of National Disability Institute, gives us six steps for ABLE account planning in 2015.
Source: Planning Now: A Guide for Parents of Children and Adults with Developmental Disabilities
New Jersey Resources
Jewish Family & Children’s Services (JFCS) works with individuals with special needs and their families offers services to help with financial planning. Although this is run through the Jewish Federation, individuals do not have to be Jewish to access these resources. The contact phone number is 856-424-1333 or email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition, there are several attorneys in South Jersey that will help set up trusts and do other financial planning. See below:
Wase & Newman LLC Law Office provides a range of services including special needs trusts, Medicaid planning, and guardianship for individuals of varying abilities. Clients are empowered to take control of their legal affairs so they may achieve the best results possible given their legal, financial, physical, and emotional needs and family dynamics.
Hinkle, Fingles, Prior & Fischer, Attorneys at Law have been specializing in serving individuals with disabilities since 1974. Our entire practice focuses on serving people with disabilities and their families. Attorneys at Hinkle, Fingles, Prior & Fischer have over 70 years of combined experience providing specialized legal services to families of children and adults with a wide range of disabilities and seniors. We have argued many of the precedent setting cases affecting individuals with disabilities in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Services include guardianship, trusts, special education, and many other services. They can be reached at (609) 896-4200 in New Jersey.
Archer Law The Estates and Trusts Department of Archer, P.C. has provided estate, business continuity, charitable giving and elder care planning, estate and trust administration and litigation services, as well as tax services to individuals, professionals and institutions for over 55 years. The legal professionals of the Department concentrate on providing quality and personalized services to clients and, when appropriate, in conjunction and consultation with client’s advisors like accountants, financial planners, investment advisors, custodians and trustees.