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So, when I am asked to describe myself the first word that always comes to mind is I am a mom. I am a soccer mom, a dance mom, a gym mom, a golf mom, a mom who owns her own business and yes, a special needs mom. My brother even says I have always mothered him! And to a degree, as a financial planner and fiduciary some of my mom characteristics come in to play. All my Mom “titles” or duties and attributes make me who I am today to friends, family, and clients alike. I have to say however, being a special needs mom has taught me the most, while also highlighting my strengths and weaknesses. One of my greatest strengths is in planning. I love to plan everything- from financial plans to vacation plans. That said, as a mom and especially as a special needs mom, estate planning is the most difficult. There is an emotional element we all want avoid. Death is hard to talk about, think about and plan for, especially when you are just trying to survive the day. As special Needs Families we spend so much of our days in survival mode. It is hard to think past tomorrow.
As we enter the new year, my ask of you is to plan. Begin planning or review your plan, make updates, and have fresh conversations with all parties involved. My promise to you is to be there to help. For all my special needs families we will be launching a Special Needs Binder program. Clover Leaf Wealth will be providing each family with a binder and electronic vault to assist in organizing all important documents and contact information.
One thing I have observed over the years, is that the care, management, and organization surrounding the special needs child is often performed by one parent in a silo. We survive by dividing and conquering. We often delegate these tasks to one parent and the other never learns the specifics. What if something happens to that parent? I know in my household my husband would have no idea on how to ensure the attendant got paid or who to even contact to find out how!
This is where our new binder program comes in to play. The binder will have checklists for planning and areas for documentation of essential information and contacts. For example, sections include:
- Estate Planning Documents (Wills, Trusts, Letter of Intent)
- Medical (diagnosis list, medication lists, contacts, testing information, specialists)
- School (IEP, behavioral Plans)
- Transition Services
- Social Security
My hope is that this binder is not only a resource for the day we all fear, but a resource for now as well. A place to keep information we need for documentation and to store information for the next stage of our child’s life. Additionally, this binder, or at least key parts of it can also be maintained online in your client vault just like your financial plan. I hope you find this binder helpful and useful. I look forward to reviewing it with you during your next meeting. If you would like to receive it sooner, please reach out to schedule!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Some excellent advice here Cortney and I think this concept could be extrapolated out to caring/planning for elderly parents as well. We are very happy to hear you are with us all the way!