When you?re busy taking care of a family member with a disability, taking time to plan for the future falls to the bottom of the to-do list. There doesn't seem to be any room in the day for handling complex planning when driving to doctors visits, shopping, cooking, feeding loved ones and managing the other activities of daily living.
Financial planning and future decisions about care providers, trustees and wills can be pretty overwhelming and often gets pushed to the back burner. However, postponing plans for the future can result in your family member not getting the care they need if you become unable take care for them.
To begin the planning process, start by creating a vision of the future you desire for your family - including you, your disabled child, sibling or parent and other related people. This step helps make the transition from fearing the future to taking actions to create the future you desire. Don't be afraid that you will make mistakes ? you can always adjust the plan.
Make the vision as simple or as complex as you wish. Here are some questions to answer: What type of life do you expect for your loved one when you are not there to provide care? Do you expect government or family funding to be of importance? Do you want a basic level of care or a life enriched by the activities you currently provide? Who will look in on your family member every few weeks to check up? How will she get to the doctor's office? What kind of spending will he need for medicines, clothes and housing?
The process of creating a vision is not easy - we cannot imagine anyone providing the care, love and patience that we do. But once we have looked ahead and tried to imagine the future, finding the resources through financial, estate and care planning becomes much easier.
There are many decisions to make to plan for the future. Here are a few areas of concern to think about:
- Have a financial plan. A plan eases worry for you and your family. This plan ensures that you are doing as much as you can to provide for your family member and includes current and future savings projections, expense projections, investment ideas and insurance planning.
- Determine if a special needs trust is appropriate. Special needs trusts enable family members to draw on funds for supplemental needs without endangering government benefits.
- Find a trustee to balance spending dollars for appropriate needs versus having assets to generate income over the course of a lifetime and to handle taxes.
- Locate care providers and coordinators to assume day-to-day care for your loved one for the time when you?re not there.