Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Fort Collins Tax Pro Discusses: Organizing Your Financial World Around a Child With Special Needs

There probably isn’t much that a Fort Collins tax professional could add to the growing commentary on Colorado’s most recent tragedy. And it wasn’t even so much a tragedy in the classic sense — more like an atrocity.

Root cause analysis (Hollywood violence, lack of gun control, etc.) is unlikely to bring much solace to 12 families who are intensely grieving. Nor will it plumb the depths of a deranged psychopath. In these cases, I’m simply grateful for these moments God has given to me and my family here in Fort Collins … and am reminded that everything can change on a dime.

I’m also grateful that I’m not one of the investigators, or lawyers who now have to live this case for the following months, or even years. The wheels of justice may work slowly, and they always involve real people.

So in this case, I’d like to pull closer … and to turn my attention to one of the greatest blessings here on earth: children. In particular, there are certain children whose very existence speaks the lie to the culture of death which so pervasively seems to surround us.

I’m referring to children with special needs; and as tricky as their care may be, it comes with many blessings (from what I gather). And one of the “trickier” aspects of handling it is the financial.

So, I have some advice on that today. But before I get there, I also wanted to start a periodic section here on “Seasonal Tax Advice”. I’ll offer this from time to time, as I deem appropriate.

Judy Meyer’s Seasonal Tax Advice for Fort Collins-area TaxPayers July 2012

Standing just past the midyear mark, and with months instead of just days left to act, you can make a substantial difference in your tax liability. There are simple steps such as adjusting your payroll withholding and getting organized. A bit more trouble, but definitely worth it, are things such as contributing to a tax-deferred or tax-free retirement account and evaluating your portfolio with an eye on how to take full tax advantage of capital gains and losses. Or you can think really big and look into buying a home with its many tax breaks or making tax-saving alternative energy improvements to the house you already have. Sure, these tax moves might cut into your beach time a bit. But make the time, because they also could cut your tax bill.

We’re here to help! 970-490-2172

Now, onto my primary Note … and feel free to forward this along to families who might come to mind, and let them know that we can certainly assist them with their unique situation.

Fort Collins Tax Pro Discusses: Organizing Your Financial World Around a Child With Special Needs
There is some standard thinking about setting up your affairs with children who have special needs:

Families realize that they have to support these children for the rest of their lives. So, they typically write wills and take out significant term life insurance policies. They are careful to name a trust as the beneficiary, because if their child has more than $1,000 in assets upon reaching age 18, he/she will no longer be eligible for some government benefits.

However, while these families are indeed on the right track, parents with special needs children also need to:

1. Set up a second trust.
The purpose of this additional trust would be so that friends and family members can contribute to the child’s care while the family is still alive–without causing the child to lose eligibility for federal disability benefits.

2. Increase savings.
These families need a much larger emergency fund than most, and they also need to create a “reserve fund”. They should concentrate on savings–rather than paying off debt–especially if interest rates on loans are low.

3. Plan for three retirements.
These families not only have to plan for their retirements, but also for the child’s long-term care. They should maximize their savings and take an aggressive approach with their portfolio to maximize returns over the long run.

I thought these tips were so important that if you find yourself in this situation, you should raise them with your professional advisors. And, of course, we’re here to help.

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