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My Special Child: Protecting Their Future

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- One simple mistake could cost your child his or her home or health insurance. It's a scary reality for some families. Father Tobi Fuller knows the risks.

"You never know what could happen to us," he said. "The thought of us not doing something and that affecting our kids because we were just too busy to make an appointment, or we didn't want to spend money to set it up, or whatever reason, it just didn't work. We had to make sure we got that trust set up."

Craig Reaves, estate planning attorney, said Fuller did the right thing.

"Every parent is concerned about the financial future of their child when they`re no longer around to provide for them," he said, "a parent of a child with a disability even more so because they may not be able to fend for themselves. Leaving money in a special needs trust allows that money to be used for the child in a way that will enhance their life, allow them to do things they could not do if they were totally dependent on public benefits and provides for them for the rest of their life. A child with a disability who does not have a special needs trust set up correctly will lose tens of thousands of dollars of federal and state benefits over their lifetime."

Reaves is referring to benefits such as housing, medical insurance, personal care, equipment and monthly income -- the necessities the child needs for daily living.

"For us, Jack was a wake-up call, and there was a sense of urgency," said Fuller. "Getting that set up and accomplished and then changing our fiscal outlook for what will be forever now."

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