My daughter was born 15 years ago. She was beautiful and healthy, and of course my wife and I were over the moon. She was my first and only daughter, and like fathers do, I almost immediately began worrying about boys and weddings and protecting my little girl for a lifetime.
In her first few years we began to notice delays in her development. At two years old, she wasn’t talking or walking, and she had some motor control issues that were becoming increasingly apparent. At three years old, we were told by doctors that our precious girl was “mentally retarded” (yes, that’s still the term that clinicians use), and that she would never be self-sufficient. Our daughter would never go to college, never drive a car, never get married and would need assistance for the whole of her life. It was a heartbreaking moment. And it launched a whole new realm of worry for her future. How will I ensure that this person that I love so much be happy and well-cared for not only now, but after I am no longer here to do it myself? It is a sobering and terrifying thought.
We soon discovered that families of individuals with special needs have a great deal of study and homework to do. The public school system must be navigated differently and your special needs child’s rights advocated for more aggressively. As those children approach adulthood, steps must be taken to ensure the parents ability to act in the family members’ best interest. There are government benefits available for adults with disabilities, tax-deferred savings options, special trusts and estate planning steps that should be considered – but the details of those programs and benefits may vary by state and can be overwhelming and intimidating. It takes a team of family and experienced advisors, and I would recommend to any family of a child with special needs that you begin building that team early.
Clackamas Federal Credit Union can help. Our CFS* Advisor, Tony Fox, can help you plan for and achieve your financial goals, and determine how financial tools such as ABLE Accounts and Special Needs Trusts may fit into your plans for yourself and your loved ones. Find out more here.
Aaron Goff, President/CEO
Clackamas Federal Credit Union
*Non-deposit investment products and services are offered through CUSO Financial Services, L.P. (“CFS”), a registered broker-dealer (Member FINRA/SIPC) and SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Products offered through CFS: are not NCUA/NCUSIF or otherwise federally insured, are not guarantees or obligations of the credit union, and may involve investment risk including possible loss of principal. Investment Representatives are registered through CFS. The Credit Union has contracted with CFS to make non-deposit investment products and services available to credit union members. CFS and its representatives do not provide tax advice. For specific tax advice please consult a qualified tax professional.