Planning for the Future of Your Child With a Disability

L. Mark Russell and Arnold E. Grant. Planning for the Future - Providing a Meaningful Life for a Child with a Disability After Your Death. (Planning For The Future, Inc., 2005, p. 643). Price varies; check Amazon.

If you have a special needs child and are worried about what will happen to that child when you die, Planning for the Future contains a wealth of information about securing the child's future.

Written by two attorneys and packed with detail, Planning for the Future is not a quick-reference book, but instead requires a careful reading. The authors recommend starting with life planning - deciding where you want your child to live, what activities you want your child to participate in - and then writing a letter of intent. The book includes charts, worksheets, and sample letters to help you in this process. Other chapters delve into government benefits - including a thorough explanation of what disabilities are covered, estate planning, avoiding probate, gifting, and personal injury awards.

The authors emphasize trusts as an essential tool to ensure your special needs child is provided for after you die, and they explain the various types of trusts and how to set them up. The book also spells out how to protect your own money from nursing home expenses and estate taxes so that you have funds to leave to your child. Finally, Planning for the Future describes in great detail the tax deductions available for your child and for medical expenses.