Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Monday, December 24, 2018

How to Plan Finances to Raise a Special-Needs Child

SntMichael and Carole Maguire’s daughter was born in 1999 with a rare chromosomal condition, trisomy 12. There was a lack of families to lean on for support, for Michael did the only tangible thing he could - he financially planned for her future. "I couldn't fix her diagnosis," he said, but he could do this for her.

Planning for children with special needs is far more complicated than that of other children. For one, if a special needs child has too much money to their name, they risk losing on highly important government benefits. Parents of these types of children also need to have more life insurance to adequately provide for their loved ones if tragedy strikes. “You can quantify how much someone needs for retirement or college, but it’s difficult to quantify how much someone needs for disabilities,” said John Nadworny, the lead wealth adviser in the special needs planning group at Shepherd Financial Partners.

Michelle Smith, chief executive of Source Financial Advisers and a co-founder of the Ideal School of Manhattan, advocates that parents with special-needs children plan early and revise those plans often. Her 17-year-old son Dylan has Down syndrome, and she says that the expenses he needs are on par to "a year of college education for me every year for the rest of my life.”

Having a newborn baby is daunting enough, but learning that your child is special needs adds to the unknown exponentially. Mr. Nadworny said there are five areas to focus on when it comes to planning for a special needs child: financial factors, government benefits, legal factors, family and support factors, and emotional factors.

See Paul Sullivan, How to Plan Finances to Raise a Special-Needs Child, New York Times, December 21, 2018.

Special thanks to Matthew Bogin, (Esq., Bogin Law) for bringing this article to my attention.

Special thanks to Joel C. Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.


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