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New Study Explores the Role of Caregiver

Once again MassMutual and Easter Seals have collaborated on a study, this one focused on caregiving. The purpose of the Many Faces of Caregiving Study was to increase understanding of caregivers, become better aware of caregivers’ needs, and improve upon the ways MassMutual and Easter Seals serve caregivers and their families. About caregivers The study asked questions of 341 caregivers and 701 non-caregivers (a fairly equal balance of men and women between the ages of […]

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ABLE Accounts and Special Needs Trusts: A Side-by-Side Review

The availability of ABLE accounts is imminent. Many people have anticipated this new way to save money for a person with special needs. But does it take the place of a special needs trust? “A special needs trust and an ABLE account have some similarities, but one doesn’t negate the need for the other,” says Chris Collier1, CLU, ChSNC, who is a Special Care Planner and has earned the Chartered Special Needs Consultant designation.2 He’s […]

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ABLE Accounts Are Coming! Is It Really What You’ve Been Waiting For?

Many individuals and families who live with special needs are eagerly anticipating the availability of ABLE accounts. What is an ABLE account? Is it something you’ll want? Or need? Are you even eligible to have one? “It’s been a long wait,” says Chris Collier1, CLU, ChSNC, who is a Special Care Planner and has earned the Chartered Special Needs Consultant designation.2 He’s with the Innova Financial Group3 in Cincinnati, Ohio, a general agency of Massachusetts […]

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Do You Need to Name an Executor of Your Estate? Seven Questions and Answers to Help You Decide.

Estates vary regarding valuation and complexity. In its simplest definition, if you own assets, you have an estate. If you also have debts and/or a will, you may need someone to settle your estate when you die. “Most individuals understand the importance of creating a financial strategy or a life care plan1 for their family, especially when a family member has special needs” says Connor W. Kavanaugh, who is a Special Care Planner2 with MassMutual-Oregon3 […]

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Special Needs Trusts – How Much Trouble Are They To Manage?

Trusts are wonderfully flexible planning devices — but that does mean you have to do the planning. BY ROBERT B FLEMING, CELA and BERNARD A KROOKS, CELA – A client recently asked the following question: I’m thinking about setting up a special needs trust for my son, who has a developmental disability. Will it mean a lot more work for my daughter, who will be handling my estate? It’s a fair question, and one we hear a lot. No […]

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What You Need To Know About Trusts

Planning is critically necessary to avoid unintended consequences in which your wishes are not carried out and the person you care about so deeply is left at risk of losing essential public benefits. “What will happen when I am not around? How can I protect the future of my loved one?” Supplemental Needs & Special Needs Trusts In some cases, a well-meaning grandparent remembers a child with special needs in his or her will, not […]

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The Legal Side of Financial Strategies

Creating a financial strategy – which includes financial and legal elements – is smart, practical, and satisfying. Especially when a family member has special needs. “A sound financial strategy takes your family’s current and future financial needs into consideration, especially when planning for the future care of a family member with special needs”, says Kenneth E. Phipps, CLU, ChFC, ChSNC, a Special Care Planner who’s earned the Chartered Special Needs Consultant (ChSNC)* designation and is […]

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Reverse Mortgages The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

BY BERNARD A. KROOKS, ESQ For those who have special needs, or are caregivers for an individual with special needs, the promise of extra cash flow from a reverse mortgage may seem like a wonderful gift; however, be sure to read the fine print. Reverse mortgages are a complex and often misunderstood product. Although they have been around for decades, reverse mortgages have recently received more attention as a financial planning vehicle as people are […]

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Alternatives to Guardianship

BY LAUREN AGORATUS, M.A. Families may be concerned about what the future holds for their child with disabilities. Parents may be fearful if the child will be able to live independently and make decisions for themselves. Children with special needs must have input, based on their abilities. Families and professionals need to start at a young age to help the child develop decision-making skills and maximize their potential as adults. Is Guardianship the Only Way? […]

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Developing Money Handling Skills

As you become more confident in your son or daughter’s ability to handle the responsibility and he or she becomes more confident in their ability to handle the transactions, decrease your involvement. Many parents of young adults with learning disabilities are concerned about their son or daughter’s weak skills in money handling. They are rightfully concerned about their ability to handle purchases in stores – having enough money at the register to pay for purchases, […]