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Financial Planning > UHNW Client Services > Family Office News

Strategies for families with special needs

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Advisors must be prepared to handle anything, from quelling fears about unstable markets to helping integrate financial strategies with emotional ones. For families with disabled family children, communication is vital, according to Kristen McNamera, writing for Dow Jones.

“Special needs professionals use ‘people-first language’ that focuses on the person, rather than the disability,” she writes. “This means referring to ‘a child with disabilities’ rather than ‘a disabled child’ or saying someone ‘has a disability’ rather than ‘is disabled’.” Advisors can also focus on the positive by asking about a child’s abilities, rather than disabilities.

Within the family it’s important to have a clear picture of who will care for a child with disabilities. Inviting future guardians, caregivers and trustees to meetings with planners can help give them an idea about what role they will play in a child’s future. Though not legally binding, a letter of intent can guide future caretakers as well. Any documents should be reviewed regularly to keep up with changing circumstances, especially as regards inheritances. Leaving all assets to a child with a disability can stir resentment amongst other family members, while dividing them into equal shares may not adequately provide for someone who requires lifelong care, McNamera writes.


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