Planning for Financial Security
Throughout the estate and futures planning process, we understand you may need additional information and/or resources, which is why we have identified several useful links and information. They are organized according to the planning timeline.

Creating a Vision  |  Building a Relationship  |  Planning for Financial Security  |  Safeguarding Your Plans  | 

Planning for Financial Security

Publicly funded programs and supports for people with disabilities are limited in their scope and availability. Eligibility criteria are often stringent and waiting lists are long. A resource guide describing what is available in Kentucky can found at and An additional website for children and adults with intellectual disabilities can be found at

Publicly-funded supports, while usually essential for a person with a disability to live a meaningful live in the community, do not pay for everything. They essentially pay for “people supports” to provide personal assistance and guidance in day-to-day tasks and activities that individuals cannot perform by themselves. In addition to direct care, families often provide financial resources to provide for a positive quality of life. These expenditures can range from payment for additional medical, dental or therapeutic services that are not covered by Medicaid, Medicare or private insurance; clothing; computers and internet service; entertainment, including cable television, movies and other recreational activities, and celebration of birthdays and other special occasions.

Working with a financial advisor can be very helpful as there is great deal of complexity in figuring out the financial need, as well as the means to provide for the need. The following companies have specialists who have been trained to work with families who have children with disabilities to assist in planning for their financial security:

MassMutual ( Merrill Lynch ( MetLife ( Northwestern Mutual Financial Network (

In order to protect a person’s eligibility for SSI and/or Medicaid, family members will need to establish a Special Needs or Supplemental Needs Trust to hold the assets for their member’s benefit. A special needs trust makes it possible to appoint a trustee to manage the assets thereby retaining or qualifying the person with a disability for government benefits. The assets in the special needs trust do not belong to the person with a disability as the trust is established and administered by someone else. Furthermore, the trustee is given the absolute discretion to determine the disbursements from the Trust.

Trustees have a great deal of responsibility and need to understand the parameters by which they must function in order to safeguard the person’s eligibility for benefits. A Trust, as a separate legal entity, may also have to file an income tax return based upon investment earnings or distributions.

Trustees would be wise to seek legal counsel, utilize the services of a CPA for tax return preparation, and obtain the book Special Needs Trust Administration Manual: A Guide for Trustees by Barbara D. Jackins, Richard S. Blank, Peter M. Macy, Harriett H. Onello, and Ken W. Shulman (People with Disabilities Press at iUniverse, 2005). It can be ordered from (

In the section “Safeguarding Your Plan, a list of knowledgeable attorneys in Kentucky who can establish a Special Needs Trust can be found. For families who have a child with intellectual disabilities, they may want to instead explore opening an account with the Kentucky Pooled Special Needs Trust established by Cedar Lake Foundation. For more information, contact them at (502) 425-5323 or
Last Updated: June 23, 2006
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