Parents of special needs children often find themselves staring down a seven-figure bill to cover the cost of lifetime care.
Coming up with that cash doesn't have to be impossible — if families know how to plan for it.
Such was the case for the Fernandez family of Newton, Massachusetts, a couple who needed $3 million to cover the cost of lifetime care for their 23-year-old son Alex, who has autism.
The family drafted a special needs trust and funded it with life insurance to ensure that they will provide for him long after they are gone.
That's just one strategy available to families to help them cover the cost of and support for their kids, all the while preserving benefits that their children may receive through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program and Medicaid.
"It's case specific, and it depends on your goals and resources," said Nancy Nauheimer, a wealth advisor with Northern Trust. "A good plan can include both a special needs trust and an ABLE account."
Here's how you can get the most out of your special needs planning.