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Providing for a Special Needs Child

Anyone with children will tell you caring for a family’s financial well-being is a huge responsibility, but for parents of children with special needs, every penny becomes even more important.

The Hunters are one of the 20 million U.S. families facing the challenge of medical specialty visits, medications, and other treatments on a daily basis. When Valerie Hunter, a busy 32-year-old mother of two boys―Evan, 6, and Benjamin, 2―noticed her oldest son was encountering developmental problems, she took him to see a specialist at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.

“Evan was diagnosed with sensory processing disorder, severe ADHD, a mild speech articulation disorder and a moderate pragmatic speech disorder,” says Hunter. “Luckily, my husband has a good job with great benefits, so I’ve been able to stay home. Our insurance also covers a substantial amount for speech therapy and occupational therapy on a weekly basis.”

Setting the Stage for a Lifetime of Success

When a child is diagnosed with a condition that impairs development, providing for the possibility of long-term care can rise pretty high on the priority list. Sitting down with a financial expert regarding a special needs trust often provides parents a feeling of control in the situation and helps ease the worry.

When setting up a special needs trust, be sure to include a letter of intent outlining your child’s medical history, medical needs and guardianship. Once your plans are outlined, you can focus on what matters most―your child’s health and happiness.

“We actually had retirement savings and life insurance policies in place before the diagnosis, so we haven’t had to change much in terms of our finances,” says Hunter. “However, the public school we were zoned for would not accommodate Evan, so we made the decision to enroll him in Tennessee Virtual Academy as a home-schooled student. Evan is exceeding all expectations and is very advanced for his age.”

Sources: DailyFinance.com, September 2012; WSJ.com , July 2012

First Tennessee does not provide tax or legal advice.  You should consult your personal tax and/or legal advisor concerning your individual situation.

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