"Part of the estate plan for all parents with a special needs child has to be creating a special needs plan," said Michael Black, who also is a certified financial planner and principal of Michael Phillips Black Wealth Management.
Exact data on how many parents are in the Blacks' situation is hard to come by, but data from the 2010 U.S. Census show that about 18.7 percent of Americans, or 56.7 million people, have some sort of disability. Not all of them require special assistance, and not all young children with special needs will move into adulthood needing help, however.
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Special needs can range from autism spectrum disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder to cerebral palsy and genetic disorders.
Meanwhile, census data shows roughly 12.3 million people, or 4.4 percent of Americans, need help with basic daily living activities such as bathing, preparing meals or taking prescription medicine.