Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Long-Term Planning for Children with Special Needs

Long-Term Planning
Planning for the future is fun and exciting when planning for a vacation, wedding, or retirement. Planning for a future where we are absent from our loved ones’ lives is much more difficult but far more essential than planning for events! It all boils down to communication and having all the important documents in one place. A binder is a great way to organize and keep all important documents in one place that is accessible to family members or other designated caregivers as needed. Here are 10 must-have documents to include in your binder:
1.       Important legal papers:
a.       Birth certificate,
b.      Social Security card,
c.       Health insurance cards,
d.      Medicaid award letter
2.       Letter of Intent – this is a not a legal document but is a very important way to pass vital information about an individual with a disability to future caregivers. This important document should be updated once every year. Be sure to sign and date this document every time you update it! Information to include:
a.       People to contact if something happens to you (include names and relationship/role, addresses, mail and e-mail addresses of other children/individuals, extended family, case manager, and close family friends)
b.      Current situation and family life
c.       Daily routine
d.      Sleeping preferences
e.      Eating habits – food likes/dislikes
f.        Education performance/routine
g.       Strengths and preferences
h.      Future living plans
i.        Employment
j.        Medical Care
                                                              i.      Medical diagnoses
                                                            ii.      Medical Doctor(s) (contact information)
                                                          iii.      Eye doctor (contact information)
                                                           iv.      Dentist (contact information)
                                                             v.      Allergies and reactions
                                                           vi.      Drugs and adverse reactions
                                                         vii.      Medications currently taken
                                                       viii.      Therapies – types and schedule (contact information)
k.       Behavior Management (counselor and contact information)
l.        Social activities
m.    Religious/Spiritual Life
n.      Strengths and preferences
o.      Guardians and trustee
3.       Final arrangement written instructions:
a.       Burial/cremation preference
b.      Religious service or other services
4.       Advance health care and financial directives:
a.       Powers of attorney
b.      Living wills
c.       Health care proxies
5.       Trusts and wills (copies of):
a.       Special needs trusts
b.      Living trusts
c.       Insurance trusts
d.      Location of signed copies or originals so they can be accessed if needed to complete property transfers
6.       Major assets list with policy and account numbers, and names of any brokers, insurance agents, or investment advisers:
a.       Insurance policies
b.      Stocks
c.       Mutual funds
d.      Bank accounts
7.       Guardianship papers and advocacy organizations with your personal thoughts about these organizations.
8.       Government agencies you have dealt with and the caseworker or contact at the agency; include contact information.
9.       Government benefits the individual may or does receive, as well as copies of any completed application forms, include contact information.
10.   Miscellaneous papers such as tax returns filed for the individual, housing option information/applications, school applications, documents referenced to in the Letter of Intent, and/or photos.
Add other “must-have” documents to your binder according to your individual with special need’s unique needs and future plans. For more resources related to long-term planning for your child, contact MedCare's Social Worker, Karen McWhorter, LMSW-IPR, CPS.