5 Important Tips If Your Special Needs Child Visits the Emergency Room

5 tips for emergency room visit with special needs child

I had the wonderful privilege of interviewing Dr. Darria Long Gillespie, MD, MBA, FACEP, at the Type A Parent conference in Atlanta a few weeks ago. She is an ER doctor, Mom, TV and media health expert and radio host. She is a board certified emergency physician, and works in the emergency department at Northside Hospital, Atlanta. She has been on the Dr. Oz show, CNN, CNBC, The Fox News Channel and more. [Read more…]

Holiday Gift Idea For New Parents Of A Child Diagnosed With Down Syndrome

Jacob's Journal - My Journey Home

Jacob’s Journal – My Journey Home

The holidays are fast approaching and if you or someone you know has been blessed with a child diagnosed with Down Syndrome, this might be the perfect holiday gift idea.

Note: this post contains affiliate links. Please read more at my Disclosure Policy.

As a first-time “older” mom and someone who went through her trials and tribulations when it came to infertility, I was so happy. I knew that I wanted to keep a “birth journal“, I had read that in one of the mommy/parenting magazines.  I wanted to document “our” journey, so that one day I could share it with my son when he got older (this was way before social media!).

I knew that I was a “high risk pregnancy” and that there was more risk for me and for my baby than normal.  That’s why when I learned of my son’s diagnosis when I was four months pregnant, I knew that this journal will also help me document all the information, medications and tests that he was going to have to endure. [Read more…]

“Special” A Poem Written By A Mom For Her Special Needs Son

pregnant belly When you start thinking about becoming a Mom; the first things that pop into your mind is whether you will have a boy or a girl, what will the name be and what they will be when they grow up.

You don’t stop to think will he/she have special needs! Down Syndrome!

So when you are given that diagnosis, you feel that your whole world has shattered!  sa women You are scared!  You feel alone.  The room is silent and all you are wondering is “What does all that mean?”  “What does it mean when they say my baby has an extra chromosome?” [Read more…]

Guest Post: Looking Ahead with Hope: Financial Planning for Your Child with Special Needs

special needs financial planning For families raising a child with special needs, balancing the emotional and financial responsibilities can be challenging. Often your current situation is so all-encompassing that long-term planning is pushed aside.

Take for example the story of 20-year-old Patrick, who has autism.

Planning for the future always seemed far off for his parents as they concentrated on meeting their son’s everyday needs. But when Patrick was selected by his school, Performing Arts Studio West, to participate in a SunTrust Bank television commercial highlighting the importance of special needs planning, it resonated with his family.

I work with a unique national division of trust and estate planners at SunTrust Bank who specialize in helping families plan for their loved ones with special needs. While each family has a unique set of circumstances, most parents have the same concerns – who will take care of our child when we pass away and how much will it cost?

To best answer these questions, it’s important that a financial planner first understand your daily experiences and long-term wishes so that he or she can develop a plan that meets your needs. Through personal conversations, our advisors often find that many families do not know what options are available to them or what questions need to be answered to begin the process.

With that in mind, here are five important steps to take when planning for your child:

1.      Engage Professionals. The sooner you begin thinking about your child’s financial future – and your own – the more time you will have to save and prepare. It is critical to seek out professionals who specifically focus on planning considerations for individuals with disabilities. This type of planning takes a team of professionals working together to learn about your family’s needs and develop a customized plan that is right for all parties involved.

2.     Identify the best trust for your situation. Special Needs Trusts (SNTs) are ideal for parents who want to ensure their child will be eligible now or in the future for federal and state benefit programs such as Medicaid and/or SSI. Furthermore, a well-crafted SNT will address many of the care considerations you have regarding your child after you’re gone. Although there are different kinds of SNTs, they share the common goal of helping a person maintain eligibility for the benefit programs mentioned above. Whether your child recovers money from a lawsuit or receives an inheritance from a deceased loved one or assets from family members, a trust solution exists to best accommodate your situation. Ask your advisor which type of trust is best suited for your family.

3.    Carefully select a trustee. Identifying the right trustee to administer your child’s trust is one of the most important decisions you will make during the planning process. Options range from a corporate trustee such as a bank to a family member or nonprofit organization. Alternatively, some parents prefer to name several trustees or add family members as “trust protectors.” This approach can give you greater confidence that your child will be cared for by building additional accountability into the trust. It also ensures that personal care decisions related to the trust beneficiary will involve individuals who have a more in-depth understanding of the situation. Your advisor should share the pros and cons of each option so you can make an informed decision.

4.    Update legal documents. As with any major life event, your last will and testament–and any other legal documents–need to be carefully reviewed and likely updated to reflect the needs of your child. An attorney specializing in elder care and special needs law should be consulted and they should consider your overall plan when drafting the legal documents. Depending on the existing plan in place, if any, the attorney may recommend additional documents such as a durable power of attorney for health care, durable power of attorney for financial affairs and a binding description of your guardianship wishes.

5.    Remember your retirement. Just as important as securing the best interests of your child with special needs is ensuring that you have a stable retirement plan for yourself. Caring for your child after your working years will be more gratifying and less stressful if you have accumulated the assets necessary for a comfortable retirement. Meeting your child’s daily needs as he or she grows up can be financially challenging, but find ways to continue saving aggressively for your future as well.  

All parents worry about their children, but those concerns can be amplified when your child has special needs. It’s important to know that there are resources to help you create a plan that provides peace of mind and helps ensure the quality of your child’s future. When looking forward, the view can be much more promising knowing that through careful, early planning, long-term financial well-being is possible.

Bill-Frazier-(STI)-0413-rev Bill Frazier, SVP at SunTrust Bank, oversees a unique national division of trust and estate professionals who serve the financial needs of families who have loved ones with disabilities. You may contact Bill directly by emailing him at bill.frazier@suntrust.com

SunTrust Bank and its affiliates and the directors, officers, employees and agents of SunTrust Bank and its affiliates (collectively, “SunTrust”) are not permitted to give legal or tax advice. While SunTrust can assist clients in the areas of estate and financial planning, only an attorney can draft legal documents, provide legal services and give legal advice. Clients of SunTrust should consult with their legal and tax advisors prior to entering into any financial transaction or estate plan. Because it cannot provide legal services or give legal advice, SunTrust’s services or advice relating to “estate planning” or “wealth transfer planning” are limited to (i) financial planning, multigenerational wealth planning, investment strategy, (ii) management of trust assets, investment management and trust administration, and (iii) working with the client’s legal and tax advisors in the implementation of an estate plan.