Mike Walther shares Oak Wealth Advisors’ Top 10 Special Needs Financial Planning Tips

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Hi, it’s Mike Walther with the Oak Wealth Advisor’s Top 10 Special Needs Financial Planning Tips.  Well, as you can see, there’s actually not 10, there’s 11, because in the special needs community, there’s always more to do. So let’s start with number one.

Seek other families facing similar challenges in your community and nationally. It’s a long journey, and you want to have people helping you all along the way.  Number two, get registered for all the services and benefits that you’re entitled to receive. Be sure to work with an expert to make sure that you’re uncovering all the opportunities that are out there.  Number three, be aware of the reasons why individuals with disabilities are denied means test benefits.

Roughly two thirds of all initial applications for supplemental security income from the Social Security Administration get denied. We want you to be successful.  Number four. Use a special needs trust to supplement government benefits and protect the individual in the future.  The trusts are the cornerstones of good special needs financial planning.

Number five. Establish an ABLE account. These are tax free accounts that allow for lots of other planning opportunities. Use them wisely.  Number six. Review beneficiary designations and account titles. Be sure to look at who is named as the beneficiary on IRA and other retirement accounts as well as who’s the beneficiary on your life insurance. It’s the beneficiary designation and not your will that controls who gets the assets And if you’ve got a loved one with a special needs trust you want to be sure that it’s their trust and not the person directly who is named as the beneficiary.  Number seven, surround your family with advocates and fiduciaries You can never have too many people on your team, especially if they’re all doing what’s in your best interest.  Number eight, develop a list of future caregivers. We really want you to think beyond your family, what agencies and companies are gonna be part of that future care that you want for your loved one.  Number nine, prepare a guide for the care of your loved one with special needs. This care guide may be the most important document you leave behind.  Number 10, coordinate your planning with your relatives planning. Too often we encounter situations where relatives are well meaning and want to make gifts. And do things that complicate good special needs financial planning.  And finally, number 11. Create a safety plan that focuses on the challenges that your family member may have in the event of an emergency. You want those first responders to know best how to care for and help your loved one. You want to avoid awkward situations and mistakes can be made by first responders.  And that’s it. Those are our 11 top tips. Not all those are going to apply to every single family listening to this, but we hope that you’ll work with your advisor and implement all those that do apply.

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