Financial Planning Tips for Parents of Autistic Children

Ross Quade | Financial | 28 Sep, 2014 | No Comments

Protecting your child's future

Financial planning is extremely important if your child was born with autism. You must deal with the question of what will happen to your child if something happens to you. Although that can be difficult to think about, it’s important in order to ensure the security of your child’s future. Here are some financial planning tips for parents of autistic children. Having a plan in place for in the case that something happens to you is critical. If you do not have one then once your child grows up, he or she could lose all of their government benefits. Don’t leave your child without not only his primary caregivers, but also any much-needed benefits. Instead, make sure that you plan in advance, as this will mean all the difference.

Plan For Your Retirement

If you don’t have a financial plan for your retirement then there is no way that you’ll be able to aid your child. This is due to the fact that you’ll have a smaller income, and your own health costs and other retirement related expenses will increase. Additionally, you may not be able to physically take care of some of the things your child needs. This means taking care of you first is very important. Planning for your retirement and ensuring that you’ll have enough money to care for yourself and your health will ensure that you have enough funds to adequately take care of your child’s special needs.

The Personal Side of Financial Planning

You can always hope and bank on the fact that you and your spouse will live a great and long life, however you can never guarantee it. The personal side of financial planning is just as important as the financial one. Having everything squared away and planned in the case that you pass away is extremely important, and so creating a life care plan is highly recommended. This is a roadmap that will establish your vision for how you want your child to be looked after once you pass away, as well as how you want them to grow and learn, and the best strategies for them to have the highest quality of life possible. This includes covering shelter, finances, health, entertainment, employment, family life, retirement, etc. You should also write a letter of intent that will instruct your child’s caregiver on how you want them to raise your child.

Create a Special Needs Trust 

A special needs trust, or sometimes referred to as a supplemental needs trust,  is designed and set up for disabled individuals and allows you the ability to pass assets on to your child in the event of your death. This type of trust will prevent the interruption of government benefits that are there to aid in paying for and providing for your child’s special needs care.  If you were to pass away, then the assets that you’ve left to the trust, which include the assets that you have on hand, as well as any life insurance proceeds, will go straight into the trust. In order to avoid losing government support for your child, make sure that a trust and not your child will own your assets. This trust can be administered for your child in the way that you’ve dictated in your plan.

Appoint a Person to Look After Your Trust 

It is crucial that you appoint a trusted person to look after your trust. This person is often your child’s legal guardian, however you may also decide that you want it to be in the hands of a professional who can separately administer the trust. Due to the fact that all of your assets will go into this trust, your child, who may not have the ability to handle these matters on their own, will also not have to deal with losing his or her government benefits. It’s a good idea to ensure that your will explains who is going to take care of your child and who will watch over your money.

Life Insurance

As obvious as having a life insurance policy as a parent of an autistic child is, many still do not have one. If you don’t have a substantial estate to give to your child then taking out a life insurance policy will give him or her the security needed in order for their needs to be taken care of if you pass away prematurely or if the child needs ongoing care. Many life insurance experts recommend taking out a universal life insurance policy, however this is much more costly and complex. Instead an inexpensive and simple term life insurance policy is often sufficient.

Tax Benefits 

There are a few tax breaks that you can benefit from if you have an autistic child. Taking advantage of these can ease the financial stress that comes with raising a disabled child. It’s critical that you fully understand all of the tax benefits, as well as the government programs that your family can benefit from. A few examples of tax breaks that you may be entitled to are the standard child care expenses, child disability benefit, medical credits and expenses, the child art and fitness tax credits, as well as the Ontario Disability Support Program. It is recommended that you sit down with an accountant in order to make sure that you are taking advantage of all of the possible tax deductions, benefits and credits that are available.

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