One of the biggest concerns parents and carers of people with a disability face, is how their loved one will be supported in the future, when they’re unable to, or are no longer here.
While many people with a disability are able to make their own decisions or actively participate in decision making, some with higher needs require additional support.
So how do you make provisions for the future care of a loved one with a disability?
It all starts with some well thought out planning.
A key part of this is creating a high quality Will and estate plan, but it’s best to start by going one step back.
What’s your vision for your loved one?
You need to consider what you are trying to achieve for your loved one? Beyond providing financial support, how can you best support their future wellbeing and wishes?
The loved one should be involved in the planning process. Their level of input and involvement of course will vary depending on their disability, but it’s important to engage them as much as possible.
The person with the disability should remain the focus of the process throughout.
The future planning process
Here some key questions to ask yourself to guide the process.
- What hopes and wishes do you have for your loved one with a disability?
- What are your loved one’s hopes and needs?
- What accommodation and activities will satisfy the needs and desires of the person now and in the future?
- How will important social relationships and interactions be maintained?
- What are your loved one’s specific likes, dislikes or sensitivities?
- How do they communicate and what are their learning and educational needs?
- Do they have any other special needs and what additional support do they require?
- Have you discussed your loved one’s future plans with them and given them the opportunity to provide input?
- Have you included other family members in the process?
- Have you considered establishing a support circle or personal network of family, friends that are committed to assisting your loved one in the future?
Once you have considered these questions, you should be able to create a plan for your loved one.
This is not a financial plan for the future, but a framework to support your loved one’s best life.
You should regularly revisit it and update your plan to reflect the person’s age and any other changes in circumstances.
You should seek information and professional advice where needed to support you in developing your plan.
Then you should seek suitably qualified financial and legal professionals to assist you in making financial and legal provisions needed to support the implementation of your plan.
In our next post we will discuss key estate planning considerations when securing your loved one’s future.
You may also like to take a look at the Department of Social Services Planning for the Future for People with Disability Handbook.