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The Wrong Life Insurance Can Be Detrimental to Your Special Needs Planning

Not all life insurance is the same. Term life insurance and Permanent life insurance vary significantly in cost and in terms of how they are structured. Watch the above video to learn…

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Oak Wealth Advisors Commentary on Social Justice

Our Views on Social Justice The status quo will not do. As a firm that views itself as a pioneer in the financial services industry, we want to reiterate our…

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Essential Parenting Tip From a Mom with a Daughter with Special Needs

When Experiencing Turbulence in Life, Put Your Own Mask on First I feel challenged by the limitations placed on our lives by the distancing required to combat the spread of…

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Developing Life Skills While Sheltering In Place

DEVELOPING MY DAUGHTER’S LIFE SKILLS WHILE SHELTERING IN PLACE My daughter Maddy is learning how to cook and it is a life skill she enjoys developing.  When cooking and baking…

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“So, You’re the New Substitute Teacher?”

If you have school-age children like I do, they likely have completed their second or third week of remote learning.  In addition to your career you are trying to maintain…

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Special Needs Income Tax Minimization Strategies | Podcast

While the deadline for filing and paying our taxes for 2019 has been pushed back to July 15th, 2020, there is no time like the present to begin working to...
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Avoiding a Common Special Needs Trust Mistake | video

Special Needs Trusts are the cornerstone of a solid special needs financial plan. However, a common oversight by attorneys less familiar with drafting special needs planning estate documents can lead…

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Credit Cards May Cause Government Benefit Denials | Video

Some parents mistakenly believe, adding a child with a disability as a co-signer on a credit card is a harmless act. While it does make purchasing items easier, it comes…

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The Importance of Maintaining Medical Records | Video

Having thorough and current medical records can often be the difference between receiving or being denied benefits. Once benefits are in place, records need to be maintained.  It is common…

housing-where-will-he-or-she-live? A video discussion on Housing for Special Needs Members

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Housing – Where will he or she live?

A Night with Illinois Special Needs Planning Experts. A Town Hall discussion covering housing for individuals with disabilities. Housing for Individuals Challenges and Realities Outcomes and Quality of Life One…

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Don’t Miss Available Government Benefits

Special Needs Planning Mistake 5 Missing Government Benefits for Which You are Eligible …such as SSI, Medicaid, Social Security Disability. Read why it is a mistake to not have these…

Failure-to-Plan-is-planning-to-fail-article by Mike Walther, Oak Wealth Advisors

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Failure To Plan Is Planning To Fail

Planning for a loved one with special needs extends beyond financial planning. Whether it is housing, educational, vocational or life skills planning, remaining proactive with their planning needs is an…

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Why you have to share your Special Needs Planning with your relatives

Special Needs Planning Mistake 4 Failing to Communicate Your Intentions to Your Relatives According to our financial planner for those of Special Needs, failing to communicate your intentions to your…

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Medicaid Benefits Become Even More Challenging to Access

While getting and keeping Medicaid services has never been easy, the challenges are about to increase for Illinois residents. As of November 1, 2019, any prescription, referral, or order for…

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When a family member with special needs lives with parents or siblings

When a Family Member With Special Needs Lives With Parents or Siblings In a perfect world, we would all live interdependently in safe houses in our desired neighborhoods, feel integrated…

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Ensure All Your Assets Go To Your Intended Recipients

Special Needs Planning Mistake 3 Not Verifying Beneficiary Designations, Retirement Accounts and more is a mistake. Learn why… Most people think that their will dictates where all of their assets…

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Avoiding Loss or Denial of Social Security and Medicaid Benefits

Video Above | Special Needs Planning Mistake 2 Not Knowing What Countable Resources an Individual Has Prior to Applying Not Knowing What Countable Resources an Individual Has Prior to Applying...
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Essential Elements of a Successful Special Needs Plan | Sept 11

Essential Elements of a Successful Special Needs Plan – Join Mike Walther of Oak Wealth Advisors for an engaging and informative workshop that will help you create long-term plans for your loved one with special needs Sept 11, 2019 at the NAMI- CCNS Annual Meeting.

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A Night with Special Needs Planning Experts – Sept 26, 2019

Learn from special needs planning experts and peers

Thursday, Sept 26, 2019
7:00 – 8:30 pm
Takiff Center Community Hall
999 Green Bay Road, Glencoe IL 60022

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Video | Learn from special needs planning experts and peers

Watch The Complete Video Below…
A town hall Video discussion covering the most challenging issues facing families with loved ones with disabilities.

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FREE National Parks pass for people with disabilities

People with disabilities are entitled to a free, lifetime, National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Access Pass to visit over 2,000 federal recreation sites across the country. Included are National Parks, National Wildlife Refuges, National Forests, and other federal recreation lands. In order to obtain a pass, you must provide documentation that you have a permanent disability.

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Back To School – For How Long?

In the special needs community, the end of supports through the school district can be a frightening time for families. There is no consistent age at which services end among…

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Great News for Families in Illinois with Loved Ones with Special Needs!

ABLE accounts, which we have strongly recommended for several years, now have the additional benefit of providing an Illinois state income tax deduction for those who contribute to an Illinois ABLE Plan. We have been advocating for this tax deduction since the federal law creating ABLE accounts was passed in December of 2014. We are happy to see our efforts, and the voices of many other families, reflected in this new state income tax benefit.

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I Still Wish You Did Not Have Down Syndrome

From Randi Gillespie of Oak Wealth Advisors A few years back, I penned an article about my youngest child, Liam (then 7) and his older sister, Maddy (then 10) that…

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Making a Difference | Our Time With Jack

One of the core missions of Oak Wealth Advisors is to improve the lives of families with special needs members. That mission extends well beyond providing fiduciary financial services to…

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Mental Health Challenges Should Not Define An Individual’s Life

Having a mental illness presents challenges in individuals’ lives, but it should not define their lives. The same could be said for other disabilities, yet mental illnesses have such a…

ABLE

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ABLE Accounts – Even Better in 2018

As we start 2018, there are now 31 states offering ABLE accounts and 23 of them are accessible to residents of all states. While ABLE accounts have retained all of…

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Supreme Court Clarifies Free Appropriate Public Education

On Wednesday, March 22, 2017, the special needs community was able to breathe a collective sigh of relief.  The U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision that upholds and clarifies…

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ABLE ACT UPDATE 2017

Over two years after the ABLE Act was passed, fewer than half of the fifty states are offering ABLE accounts. The good news is that the number is growing on…

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2016 The Case For Inclusion Summary

The following summary comes from United Cerebral Palsy and their annual study of the special needs programs and resources available across the country.  For more information and access to the…

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Recommendations For More Successful I.E.P. Meetings

Our recommendations for having successful Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meetings: Be Proactive.  Your role is equally important as the education professionals’.  You are an expert about your child.  You should…

ABLE

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ABLE Accounts—Now they exist!

As of June 1, 2016, Ohio is accepting applications for 529 ABLE Accounts.  As we had anticipated, they are the first state to offer the plans.  While being first is…

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Before Signing, Talk to your Special Needs Advisor

Before Signing Anything on Behalf of Someone Else, Talk to Your Special Needs Advisor.  Individuals lack the ability to sign documents for various reasons.  In some cases, a person has suffered…

ABLE

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THE ABLE ACT – One Year Later

A year after Congress authorized ABLE Accounts as tax-free savings accounts for individuals with special needs, the Internal Revenue Service has still not completed the regulations on how the accounts…

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End of the Road Coming for Social Security Strategies

The Senior Citizens Freedom to Work Act, passed in 2000, allowed seniors to continue working while receiving Social Security benefits.  This Act permitted Social Security benefits planning strategies that helped…

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2015 The Case For Inclusion Summary

The following summarizes the United Cerebral Palsy’s annual study of the special needs programs and resources available across the country. For more information and access to the entire study, visit…

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ABLE ACT: Mid-Year Update

Six months after Congress authorized ABLE Accounts as tax-free savings accounts for individuals with special needs, the Internal Revenue Service has issued proposed regulations on how the accounts should be…

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Housing Options For Family Members With Special Needs

For most families, living with their adult child or parent with special needs is the reality.  However, the optimal situation for many individuals with special needs would be living elsewhere….

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Welcoming the ABLE Act

Congress has done little since the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 to improve the lives of those with disabilities. With the one exception being the Affordable…

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Beware of the Language Minefield

Language is powerful. It can be used to inspire and empower, but also to dehumanize and ostracize. In the special needs community, we face a language minefield that creates challenges…

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A boy, his sister and Down syndrome

Originally Featured in the Chicago Tribune Written by Randi Gillespie It had been a typical morning in our house — kids waking up way too early to raid the freezer for frozen…

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Collaboration Drives Success in School

The school year brings with it a chance for growth, new experiences, and the comfort of routine. It is also often the time when the greatest progress is made in…

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The North Shore Weekend article about Oak Wealth Advisors

Financial firm focuses on future of those with special needs …Walther compares himself to a pilot for the families. “Ninety percent of flights are not on course but over 99…

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Do I Really Need A Professional Trustee For My Special Needs Trust?

Serving as a trustee requires administrative and technical skills in addition to strong interpersonal communication skills. Identifying the appropriate trustee is difficult in general; a Special Needs Trust presents additional…

Its Not Just A Job - Worker of Special Needs

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It’s not just a job, it’s_____________.

The U.S. Navy concludes their marketing pitch above with “an adventure.” While their focus is on recruiting for military service, the message in their ad should resonate with everyone in…