Parents of special needs children know that they need to plan ahead. Depending on what the child’s needs are, that child may live at home and require a caretaker for the rest of his life. What that means is that parents of special needs children need to plan not only for the immediate and long-term future—including retirement—but also to provide for the care of their special needs child after they (the parents) have passed away.
Such comprehensive planning, with no real end in sight, can be a huge challenge, as Larry and Patti Altman, parents of a son with spina bifida, well know. As this article by Kara McGuire portrays, the Altmans have been diligent about planning for their own future, the future of their special needs son Josh, and the futures of their other two sons Zach and Max. Although they have always had to take the initiative, the Altmans have not been without help; including the help of an attorney in creating a special needs trust to ensure that Josh’s ability to receive government assistance will never be jeopardized.
The Altmans taken all of the right steps, but the planning and thinking ahead still continues, and may continue indefinitely. Says Altman, “Parents of special-needs children think about their mortality more than parents that don’t have a special-needs child because you do so much for that child and you wonder ‘Who would do this stuff if I’m not here?’ “