Special Needs Planning


Planning for the journey you know today and preparing for the bumps in the road.

Special Needs Planning is planning for two generations; encompassing both your and your child's lifetime(s).  Our approach is to break the planning process into three sequential components and then integrate these to form your Comprehensive Special Needs Financial Plan.

Planning for parents' financial security Allocating your personal resources to meet your needs and save toward your goals. 

Maximizing personal resources and leveraging government benefits to provide the best possible life for your child. 

who can step in to a parent's shoes

Building a team to support your child when you can no longer provide the on-going care they need.

It's all about striking a balance.




Many times, parents will have to find a balance between the competing goals of planning for their own financial security and planning for the lifetime needs of their child with a disability.  We can help. 


Some more about how we plan.

Here are the most common elements of a comprehensive special needs plan; one that considers your whole family's goals along with providing for the lifelong support of your child with a disability. 

Financial Planning

Basic steps of financial planning: 

1. Identify and prioritize your goals. Start with your vision for your family today, and when you are gone.

2. List your resources and expenses, including personal net worth, income sources and earnings, and expenses. Include both parent’s and child’s income sources when looking at resources and consider the supplemental cash flow needs of the child with disabilities when planning expenses.

3. Identify gaps between both personal and governmental benefit resources and desired goals. Common gaps are often found in the event of a premature death and/or disability of a parent, or not having adequate savings to meet lifetime goals.

4. Identify strategies to fill the gaps. We define The Five Factors of Special Needs Financial Planning as Family and Support, Emotional, Financial, Legal and Government Benefits. These must all be considered to develop the most appropriate planning strategies.

5. Implement a coordinated plan of action based on priorities. A plan is only as good as its implementation. There is a process for every family to follow; the key is to take action.

6. Periodically review and monitor your plan. It is important to periodically review your plan, especially in advance of the planning pressure points identified on the Special Needs Planning timeline.

Investment planning

Our investment management process is designed to deliver meaningful, risk-adjusted returns aligned with your short-,medium-, and long-term goals. Read more →

retirement planning

It’s Complicated To Plan For Two Generations.  Typically, retirement planning involves establishing a regular savings plan to make certain that there is sufficient money available to maintain a lifestyle to which you and your spouse have grown accustomed.  In special needs planning, parents may have to delay their retirement date or make adjustments in their lifestyle, including the ability to travel or relocate, due to the needs of their child. Saving enough money to achieve retirement planning goals may be more challenging for families with special needs because one parent may need to remain at home with the child and forego access to employer- sponsored retirement plans and benefits.

residential planning

There is a complex list of factors to consider when transitioning young adults with disabilities from the family home to independent living.  We have put together a Housing Checklist. 

tax planning

Taxes can play a significant role in your comprehensive financial planning.  There are four different life stages to consider in your tax planning:

  • While you are working.
  • While you are planning to retire.
  • While you are living during retirement.
  • When you die.
 As part of your team, we coordinate planning tools and techniques with your accountant and estate attorney . If you do not have an accountant or attorney, we have professionals experienced with families of individuals with special needs and we can refer you.
insurance planning

We instinctively want to protect family members and manage their risk.

What if I die too soon? What if I live too long? What if I become disabled along the way? How can I protect my family’s financial security in the event of my premature death or disability? Insurance can provide the protection from financial risks we cannot manage by savings alone.

Life insurance 
It is critical to plan for the unlikely but catastrophic event of a parent’s death. Many families of people with special needs do not have 2 parents both in the workforce.  The stay at home parent is not only the primary caregiver, but many times the glue needed to keep the family together.  It is ironic that the stay at home parent is needed so much that it is very difficult to find another person to try to fill their shoes and underscores the importance of life insurance for both parents of children with special needs.
A classic mistake we often see is a young couple sold second to die life insurance policies to fund a Special Needs Trust when both parents die. One of the main reasons it is attractive is that it is inexpensive to buy a large amount of insurance coverage.
Proper life insurance planning needs evolve through the years. In the early years it is important to have insurance coverage for both parents as the death or disability of either parent would have devastating consequences.
In a typical life cycle of a family, there is a tight budget when parents and children are young, and term insurance will cover against the improbable event but as they build a financial base, a consideration may be to purchase a permanent form of insurance.
Insurance is a critical part of planning but only one component. For more information, please see our publication, Life Insurance Strategies. 
Health Insurance
Health insurance is a critical need for all families.  Although an individual may be eligible for government sponsored insurance such as Medicaid , it may be prudent to purchase insurance for an individual with disabilities.  Whenever possible, a dependent child should be included on a parent’s health insurance coverage and dental coverage, making Medicaid the payer of last resort.
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A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.   



Where are you on the Special Needs Planning Timeline?

Your child's age will provide a jumping off point for our planning.  We created The Special Needs Planning Timeline to highlight the key planning pressure points in the life of your child.  


Where are you on the Special Needs Planning Timeline?

Your child's age will provide a jumping off point for our planning.  We created The Special Needs Planning Timeline to highlight the key planning pressure points in the life of your child.  
Birth to Age 3 Early Childhood
Birth to Age 3 Early Childhood

Congratulations on the birth of your child.  The planning may be different, but there is a process to follow. 

Ages 3-14 In School
Ages 3-14 In School

Transitioning  from home based early intervention to school is a transition that will present challenges. 

Ages 15-21 High School
Ages 15-21 High School

Maximize vocational ideas, daily living skills and independence. It is the time to explore guardianship and alternatives. 

Ages 22 and Beyond Adult Services
Ages 22 and Beyond Adult Services

School is over and access to residential, vocational and transportation services takes center stage. 


How do I prioritize my goals?

We understand, from first-hand experience, that making decisions about how to balance planning for all the members of your family can be overwhelming and sometimes, paralyzing.

We approach Special Needs Financial Planning as a process, and a dynamic one at that. The goal is to create a plan that represents a starting point from which you will build a strong financial foundation for your family’s future.


How do I make decisions now when there are so many unknowns in the future?

As Certified Financial Planner Professionals™ and Investment Managers  we will talk about your money. But first, we will spend time getting to know you, your unique situation, and your aspirations for the future.  We will talk through the uncertainties of what lies ahead and the best strategies to address them. 


Planning for more than the money.

We talk about the money but we know it takes more than money to plan for a full life for your child. It takes friendships, employment, housing,  community and connection. 



By working with a plan you can begin to progress toward your goals in no-time. And we are with you every step of the way!