095: Special Needs Care Planning: It’s About More Than Just Legal Documents

When planning for the ongoing needs of a special needs child or relative, there’s quite an array of considerations that have to be made — some foreseen, some not. It’s about far more than just paperwork — no two families are alike regarding their financial situation, the vision they hold for the future of their special needs child, or even the unique care requirements of that child.

These families do, however, tend to share one common purpose: that the parents are doing their best to replace themselves in the future when they’re no longer around. After all, despite our best efforts, none of us live forever.

If this is a scenario that’s in your future — or perhaps the future of someone you know — you probably already appreciate how easy it is to be overwhelmed by the process. And if there wasn’t already enough complexity to deal with in terms of insurance, benefits, caregiving, education, etc., special needs care planning also carries an additional challenge you won’t find when planning for the care of an elderly parent or relative — it can often be for the long term, as “special needs” isn’t necessarily synonymous with a shorter life span.

To bring special needs care planning into sharper focus, we are thrilled to be speaking with Ann Koerner, CEO, and Founder of National Care Advisors, in a new episode of Absolute Trust Talk. Since 2008, they’ve provided consulting services for special needs families, attorneys, financial planners, and trustees who support individuals with complex care needs. As a result of her work with many national corporations, Ann possesses extensive business knowledge of case management, utilization review, third-party payers, workers’ compensation, private insurance companies, and government resources. In addition to her special needs expertise, Ann holds a degree in nursing from Russell Sage College. She began her nursing practice as a public health nurse in New York and later with the City of Columbus Health Department.

Ann will be talking about the challenges that lie ahead for family members, including parents, siblings, and other relatives, when planning for the future of someone with special care needs. There’s a lot to consider, from financial planning to living accommodations and day-to-day care.

In this episode, we’re going to discuss:

  • The most common scenarios that prompt a family to seek specialized outside help with special needs care planning
  • How parents’ initial assumptions when planning are often unrealistic
  • The role that siblings usually prefer to play in special needs care planning
  • Why failing to seek qualified outside help to save money often has the opposite effect
  • The various ways that National Care Advisors can help families navigate the Special Needs Care Planning process

And more.

Whether special needs care planning is in your future or you’re already mid-process and experiencing more than a bit of frustration, this episode will put this often-complex planning in a clearer light. It will also raise questions you probably haven’t even considered, so let’s get started!

Big Three from Episode #095:

  1. Special needs parents often underestimate, financially, how much care will actually be needed for a special needs child when they are no longer around or able to care for the person.
  2. Ideally, special care needs planning should take the entire family into consideration to be most effective.
  3. While parents or other family members often attempt the planning process on their own to save money, enlisting the help of National Care Advisors can often unearth resources that can lessen their financial burden.

Time-stamped Show Notes:

0:00 Introduction

0:37 There are many special needs care planning aspects that go far beyond legal documents. Listen in as Ann and Kirsten talk about some of them.

3:15 Press play now to hear more from Ann as she discusses National Care Advisors’ philosophy toward the families it serves.

3:39 For special needs families, planning for quality of life is necessary. That’s why working with professionals who understand the complexities of special needs care planning is important. Here’s what you need to know.

4:06 Start listening now as Ann shares the most common reasons why families reach out to National Care Advisors for help.

6:00 Ann has been mentioning a lot of insights around finances. The National Care Advisors team is not made up of financial planners, but they play an essential role in helping the family with their financial planning.

6:40 There’s a significant change that occurs when a person needing special care turns 18. Start listening now to find out what that is.

7:19 It’s very important for a family to provide clear detail about what they want to accomplish for a family member with special needs. If you’re a sibling of a special needs family member, listen in to hear the most significant gift you can give.

8:00 National Care Advisors is very solution focused. Start listening now for more about the organization’s expertise.

10:28 This is one of the major areas where parents underestimate in future planning for a special needs child.

11:15 Next up, Ann details the various skill sets needed in the special needs care planning process when analyzing the practical care management aspect.

14:39 More often than not, there is an assumption that a sibling will take over for the parent’s make in caring for a special needs family member, but that’s not necessarily the best solution. Let’s discuss.

16:38 In Ann’s experience, the siblings want a role in caring for their special needs brother or sister, but it might not be the same role as the parents. Here’s how that type of succession would work.

20:06 Diving back into the services offered, Kirsten and Ann discuss some of the biggest problems that National Care Advisors help families solve.

24:50 Divorce is another factor that can cause unique challenges for special needs families. Here’s how National Care Advisors helps when that occurs.

28:10 Prompted by a viewer question, Ann touches on the challenges when considering options for housing for young adults who aren’t capable of living independently but can’t live with their parents.

32:12 Another audience member asks Ann if National Care Advisors serves as a trustee of a special needs trust. Spoiler Alert: They do not, but they can help you find a trusted professional that does!

33:37 Does National Care Advisors help families struggling with the education system? Press play now to find out.

Get in Touch with Ann Koerner, RN, BSN, CRRN
National Care Advisors
Email: akoerner@nationalcareadvisors.com

Resources/Links Mentioned in this Episode:

  • For more information about how National Care Advisors can help you with special needs care planning, visit nationalcareadvisors.com or contact Karen Kozak at kkozack@nationalcareadvisors.com or 800-652-7404 ext. 719 (Toll Free)
  • Absolute Trust Counsel would love to offer access to our Incapacity Planning resource page: https://AbsoluteTrustCounsel.com/Incapacity-Planning/. We’ve collected our top planning information all in one place so listeners can find videos, guidebooks, blog posts, a host of information with tips and strategies on implementing, planning, and protecting themselves and their loved ones.
  • We’re pleased to provide you with a library of e-books to address common estate planning questions and concerns in practical, easy-to-understand language. https://AbsoluteTrustCounsel.com/Resources/.
  • ASK KIRSTEN: If you’d like Kirsten to answer your question on the air, please email her at Info@AbsoluteTrustCounsel.com.

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