Many clients rightly consider establishing a Supplemental Needs Trust (SNT) to address the legal and financial needs of their loved ones with disabilities. However, in addition to these immediate concerns, it is important to consider how much care your loved one may need in the future and who will oversee any arrangements relating to that care.
Future Care Planning
“Future Care Planning” is a process which:
- Examines the needs of the individual with disabilities and how those needs will change in the future
- Examines the resources available to meet the individual’s needs and identifies individuals, such as family members, care providers or professionals, who can support your loved one
- Develops a plan to provide support for all of these issues when the existing care providers can no longer do so.
Each plan is tailored to the individual and focuses on what their care needs will be in the future, especially after existing care providers (such as parents) can no longer provide those supports. For example, a Future Care Plan for an adult child may consider the following:
- The ages of the parents as caregivers, the age of the child and how aging will affect their dynamic.
- Health of child and parents, identifying the need for medical supports, housing for the child as they age, need for in-home support providers for existing disability or medical concerns.
- Cost of medical care, replacing income or support from parents as they age or pass away.
- Legal issues such as planning for incapacity or death, either for the loved one with disabilities or for care providers.
- Identifying the social and personal values of the individual and how to facilitate them in the future, such as traveling, spending time with friends or family, and participation in religious, cultural or recreational activities.
- Availability of Social Security, Medicaid or other government benefits to fund care, potential for other family members to financially support their loved one.
After completing a comprehensive and honest assessment of these issues, the family can identify solutions to each and develop a plan. The plan will address the needs of the individual and anticipate how they will change, such as establishing a sibling as a caregiver when parents are no longer capable, applying for Medicaid to assist financially and connecting with local support groups for individuals with disabilities.
Using a Care Manager
In many cases, either a family member or the SNT trustee can assume responsibility for care management in the Future Care Plan. However, when care needs are significant or family members cannot be available, clients should include instructions in the SNT for the trustee to retain a professional care manager. Advising the trustee on implementation of the Future Care Plan helps to ensure that care decisions will be handled professionally and consistently throughout the beneficiary's life while allowing the trustee to focus on other responsibilities. At Pierro, Connor & Associates, we routinely draft trusts which permit trustees of SNT’s to hire care managers to advise them on the individual’s care.
What Is a Care Manager?
A care manager is a professional with the expertise necessary to develop, implement and monitor a plan for all aspects of an individual's care. Often trained in nursing or social work, care managers are available primarily through private care management companies, many of which also deliver services to the elderly. Generally, a care manager will be knowledgeable about everything from health care and rehabilitation options to residential alternatives. Care managers also should be familiar with the alternatives for funding an individual's care -- both private resources and public benefits.
What Does a Care Manager Do?
A care manager coordinates, monitors and advocates for services to help ensure that an individual with special needs can maintain the greatest possible degree of independence, safety and comfort at the most reasonable cost. Working closely with family members as well as financial advisors, attorneys, health care providers, the SNT trustee and others involved in the individual's care, the care manager may:
- Assess the individual's needs based on a visit to the home and one-on-one interviews.
- Assist in developing a Future Care Plan.
- Implement the Future Care Plan. This may include coordinating physical therapy, medical care, social services and equipment needs; improving the home's safety and comfort through repairs or modifications; and hiring home health aides or training family caregivers.
- Work with the SNT trustee to ensure that private and public resources are used appropriately, helping to preserve trust assets and avoid jeopardizing eligibility for benefits.
- Address emergency or crisis situations.
- Consider housing alternatives and oversee placement, handling such details as admissions paperwork and moving arrangements.
- Monitor care in the home or at residential facilities and recommend changes as necessary.
In planning for the future care of your loved one, it is critical to craft a Future Care Plan that meets their needs tomorrow and not just today. Utilizing a care manager in your plan is a great way of accomplishing this goal while providing support to your SNT trustee.
At Pierro, Connor & Associates, LLC, we work with families and care managers on designing Future Care Plans and are available to meet with you to develop a plan for your loved one. Please contact us at 518-459-2100 or CLICK HERE to schedule your complementary consultation today.
Article posted by:
Kevin T. Horner, Esq.
Pierro, Connor & Associates, LLC
For more information on how we can help, or to get in touch with Kevin T. Horner, Esq. please contact Adam Jones, MBA, Director of Client Development at Pierro, Connor & Associates, LLC: Tel: 866-951-PLAN