Special Needs Call for Special Planning Considerations

Work-life balance was essential when Leah was hospitalized for heart surgery – her fourth. Now Emma was able to work 20 hours a week from the hospital during Leah’s recovery. She had advocated her whole life for Leah, who was diagnosed with Downs Syndrome at birth. There was no way she would let her go through heart surgery alone.

As executive director and corporate leader by age 33 for the public company, Emma’s salary of $130,000 and bonus of $20,000 cover annual expenses, savings and travel. Her intent is that her Employee Stock Purchase Plan (ESPP) and Restricted Stock Units (RSU) totaling $250,000 would go toward Leah’s care: hospitalizations, living situation, and long-term care. Emma’s husband is also emotionally engaged and supportive in carrying out the planning and support for Leah. He earns a solid living and together, they are working toward financial independence.

Leah’s living expenses are met with a combination of SSI and county waivers for care and transportation. When Emma thinks about “tomorrow”, the time when she is not around, she has a cascade of concerns for Leah. Who will see to Leah’s care? Who will assure Leah can continue her volunteer job and who will take her to Harry Potter World, a magical place for Leah?

Leaving nothing to chance, Emma turns to SFG to help her with a plan for the whole family. She wants organized oversight of her long-term incentives to ensure she is creating wealth without thinking about the new grants and expirations, the fine print of plan documents.

Emma found that SFG often links families to attorneys with expertise in special needs. A Letter of Intent will specify plans for Leah’s care for the rest of her life, from housing to medical power of attorney to her leisure activities. Emma plans to establish a Special Needs Trust to ensure Leah’s quality of life expenses and care. Emma’s life insurance will fund the Special Needs Trust so that little is left to chance in executing the Special Needs Trust. Now she can look into Leah’s eyes and assure her that “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace” (Numbers 6:24-26)

*The name, likeness, and circumstances in this example are a fictional composite of facts from executives similar to actual SFG Clients.

Matthew P. Witter, CFP®, ChFC®, AIF®, is Senior Vice President and Lead Advisor/Investment Specialist, SFG Wealth Planning. Matt develops financial plans for executive clients and provides lead advice to the firm’s Executive Planning Services and Financial Independence Planning Services clients.

Executive Compensation, Restricted Stock Units, Stock Options, Special Needs Planning

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