Your Insurance Matters: Protecting the future for your special needs dependent

Your Insurance Matters
Protecting the future for your special needs dependent
By Shirley R. Lamdan, CLU

Protecting the future for your special needs dependent demands careful planning. Not just daily planning but long-range strategies.
Many families must develop plans for disabled dependents as they move into adulthood. Many of these disabled individuals will not be able to become self-sufficient. Many will always need the care of others.
Twenty per cent of American families today are raising children with some special needs.
In any given business, almost nine per cent of the employees are caring for family members with special needs.
The Autism Society of America says that at least one person in twenty per cent of American households is a caregiver, either full or part-time.
The Wall Street Journal reports that of the fifty-three million Americans with disabilities, thirty-three million are severely disabled.
Planning is particularly vital when the dependent receives government benefits. Many families are not aware that leaving money directly to their dependent or naming their dependent as a beneficiary could disqualify the dependent from government benefits.
Many families are not sure how they will pay for the monthly costs associated with their dependent's special needs. And they are uncertain how these costs will be covered after their deaths.
These questions can be answered with a type of planning called special needs planning. The planning will give peace of mind to the family of a disabled dependent and will assure the dependent's continuing care and support.
This planning will involve the assistance of an attorney and an insurance professional. It's best to consult professionals with ample experience with special needs issues.
They should be up-to-date with the ever-changing laws and regulations relating to special needs trusts.
If a trust is put in place, it is usually funded with life insurance for the long-range, lifetime needs of the dependent.
The trust may also provide for supplemental expenses and may allow contributions from family members.
These trusts are established to maintain the dependent's continuing eligibility for government benefits. The trusts also permit enhancement of the dependent's quality of life.
The types of life insurance that are selected to fund the special needs trusts include term and permanent plans. Sometimes, where two-parent families are involved, a joint survivorship plan can be more cost-effective.
The amount of life insurance needed can be determined with careful planning with both the insurance professional and attorney.
Families can cover long-range, lifetime expenses with life insurance. Use of life insurance may actually be the most affordable way to meet these costs.
As in other situations where life insurance is needed, it's always best to "shop" the wide variety available with an independent insurance professional.
The life insurance, properly structured for the special needs situation, and coordinated with the attorney's trust design, is an effective strategy to address lifetime needs of the disabled dependent.

Since 1982, Shirley R. Lamdan, CLU, of Hagerstown, MD has been providing independent retirement and insurance services to individuals, corporations, and non-profits. Contact her at 301 791 9427 or 800 628 3449. Her email is The website is