Basic Estate Planning for Parents with a Special Needs Child

special needs child (2)

Whether a doctor recently diagnosed your young child with autism or Asperger’s; or your baby endured a traumatic brain injury or another medical or developmental crisis, you’re feeling confused, scared and overwhelmed.

You love your child dearly, and you want to provide compassionate, strategic care. But you also don’t know where to start or how to get a grip on what the future might hold. Every parent faces a welter of challenges and surprises.

Raising a child in modern America can be a lonely and bewildering experience, even if your child has no developmental issues. But you and your co-parent (if you have one) need knowledge and support that go beyond the ordinary.

The following blog series (which we will be rolling out over the course of the next few weeks) is designed to help you to navigate this parenting journey easier by tackling a critical challenge: how to plan, financially, for your special needs child.

This series is a work of passion, and it reflects the intersection of attorney Christine Matus’ personal sphere and professional work. When she learned that her youngest daughter had Down syndrome, she and her husband confronted many challenges.

Despite her deep knowledge of New Jersey estate planning law , she had to do a lot of research and talk to dozens of advisors to develop a game plan. This experience sparked her desire to create a guide for other parents in similar situations – to help them avoid common mistakes and obtain actionable insights.

This guide obviously does not constitute legal or financial advice, but it can hopefully at least stimulate you (and your co-parent, if you have one) to meet the diverse challenges of special needs parenting with love, energy and strategic focus.

Here’s what we’ll be covering over the next several weeks:

Section 1: Financial Planning for Special Needs Parents 101

Whether your physician just diagnosed your child with a learning disability, or you’ve been wrestling with how to care for a child with a birth defect, this section will define common terms and concepts, so you can navigate the system wisely and sidestep bureaucratic obstacles .

This section will address wide-ranging questions. For instance:

  • What should you do if you have two children: one who’s not developmentally impaired and one who is?
  • How should you nimbly address pointed questions from relatives, teachers, and acquaintances?
  • How can you be a positive advocate for your child in the medical system? Etc.

Section 2: Addressing the Diverse Life Challenges of Raising a Special Needs Child

Parenting involves financial, emotional, logistic, and career-related components. How can you meet these challenges in a mindful fashion? We’ll go over surprising insights and point you to resources to kick start more effective thinking and more productive behaviors and habits.

Section 3: Additional Resources

We’ve compiled powerful resources (including links to websites and articles) that can help you navigate different parts of the special needs parenting journey.

By the end of this series, hopefully you will have a clearer understanding about how to manage your finances, challenges and opportunities. You’ll also feel calmer, more in control, and more optimistic about what lies ahead.

For help getting started planning for your special needs child, please contact The Matus Law Group or call (732) 281-0060 to schedule a free consultation.

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Christine Matus

Christine Matus