Parents face many difficult and emotional decisions when planning financially for the long-term care of a child with cerebral palsy and the family in general. Most families manage their money independently, but cerebral palsy can create a complex financial situation and may require forethought, in-depth planning, and professional guidance. Money management, cash flow planning, investments, and tax advantages can help safeguard a family’s health and well being.
A trustworthy financial planner can help parents plan for a special needs child in areas such as:
- Manage money
- Manage cash flow
- Obtain insurance
- Secure investments
- Assist with taxes
Depending on the type of services provided, certification may vary. Experts may have the following credentials:
- Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
- Certified Public Accountant-Personalized Financial Specialist (CPA-PFS)
- Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)
A financial planner may carry additional credentials and licenses for specialized areas such as insurance, securities, accounting (CPA), and legal (J.D.).
State licensure and registration can assist in the selection of a qualified, reputable planner. Many initial consultations are free-of-charge, but ongoing fees may be applicable.
Families can benefit by a financial planner’s services in the following ways:
- A subjective third-party perspective
- Resolve emotional and difficult decisions
- Effectively manage money and assets
- Create and implement financial plans
- Plan strategically
- Manage money
- Maximize cash flow
- Secure solid investments
- Reduce financial crisis impact
- Allocate income and assets effectively
- Reduce taxes
- Alleviate complexities
- Plan for contingencies
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The Financial Planning Kit
Financial Services Law
Some refer to financial service law as “wealth management,” but others believe the term is misleading. Everyone has life dreams and an unknown journey ahead, and most encounter obstacles and roadblocks, and well as opportunities, along the way. Financial services law is largely about planning for the future and all possible contingencies so the family can best lead the life they dream with the confidence of knowing they’ve put an emergency backup plan in place. Financial services lawyers claim their services are valuable to those with an abundance of resources, but just as valuable to those with little. In fact, for those on a very strict budget, strategically investing, spending and saving may prove invaluable.
Having a child with cerebral palsy adds to a family’s financial concerns. A child with cerebral palsy is likely to require an above-average number of medical services, including medical appointments, treatments, therapy sessions, surgeries, medications, and complementary care. While the school’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) process will be provide for some of these necessities, other expenses – for home care, adaptive equipment, assistive technologies, and home or automobile modifications -may be required, as well. Estate planning is beneficial for parents who wish to secure the best care for the child during his or her lifetime, or in the event something should happen to the child’s parent(s) or legal guardian(s).
Financial concerns can seem overwhelming. A financial service advisor, especially those with experience in special needs planning, can help plan, implement, apply for, secure and allocate funds from government sources, community resources, charities, employers, insurance, and education opportunities. They can document wishes and preferences; guard the ability to maintain public benefit eligibility through special needs trusts and financial planning; and secure legal power to make decisions for the child through guardianship and conservatorships. They can even appropriately allocate lifetime benefits.
Financial services law is concerned with securing the child’s future, with all its roadblocks, emergencies and opportunities. To do so, lawyers may analyze the family’s financial situation and suggest investments. These may include certificate of deposit, stocks, bonds, securities, investments, insurance protection, and real estate ventures. They may review wills, trusts, power of attorney, beneficiaries, advance directives, and designated executors. They can advise on loans, financing, asset protection, collateral, liability and promissory notes.
Not all of life’s journey’s can be ideally planned, so when sudden emergencies or catastrophes occur, financial service lawyers become a trusted advisor to help impending needs.
Areas of financial planning law include:
- Financial planning
Finances, tax laws, and procedures are complicated. Many individuals hire a professional tax preparer.
The significant costs cerebral palsy may incur, such as medical expenses, special or supplemental schooling, in-home assistance, and transportation expenses may qualify individuals for tax benefits.
Tax attorneys and certified public accountants (CPAs) offer personalized tax assistance and determine applicable file deductions and credits. Whether the taxpayer or a paid preparer completes a tax return, the taxpayer is ultimately responsible for the information submitted to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
A qualified tax preparer can help consumers avoid deficiencies, penalties, interest, and excessive taxes. Even though the government is working on future regulations and recommendations, very few states require licensure for paid tax preparers. Unqualified or dishonest preparers may cause excessive, unforeseen, and avoidable tax expenses. Seeking the assistance of a tax preparer who has experience with special needs situations can be beneficial.