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The purpose of the initial consultation is to set in place the foundations for a more secure future for your child with additional needs. With over 12-years’ experience working as a Special Needs Trust Planner, I have developed a blueprint of the vital areas that parents need to address to provide a brighter future for their child. I bring all this information to the meeting and support you in addressing each area.

Structure

I generally start the meeting by going through each section of the Trust Planning Workbook. This is why we ask all our families to attend a workshop or watch the online Trust Planning workshop before booking an appointment.

The first section in the workbook is entitlements, I check to see what you are currently receiving and if there are any unclaimed entitlements or future issues.

We then move on to Wills and the best way to structure your Special Need Will to support your child. I will talk to you about the specific skills people need to have to be nominated as Guardians and Trustees.

I show you how to complete the templates for the Letter of Wishes and the Hospital Passport. This takes the guesswork out of completing these essential documents.

Other areas of discussion during the meeting is finding out what type of banking facilities your child already has in place and guiding you on how to open a Special Needs Bank Account.

Trust Life Policy

I generally leave this part towards the end as I need to make sure that the Trust Life policy is the best way for you to fund your child’s future. If I believe it is suitable, I will assist you through the application process.

This is an online application form which has several personal questions around your current health, any past diagnoses, medication, or specialist you are currently attending. Once this is completed, the proposal goes directly to the insurance company underwriting department for assessment.

Personal Finances

The reason I ask questions around your personal finances is so I can better estimate the likely size of your child’s future trust. Parents can have lots of financial products such as mortgages, investments, pensions that have been recommended to them from a Financial Advisor/Institutions. Almost all have little to no experience in the area of special needs, and at times these products can be problematic in the future. When I see this, I will point it out to you.

Sometimes you may have financial products that are great when you have a child with special needs. For instance, certain types of work pensions will pay out for a child with special needs when the parents pass away. There are lots of parents who have these types of pensions but don’t know it until I investigate it further.

All the information I gather throughout the meeting then goes into the personalised Special Needs Trust Plan I write for you.

After Consultation

Immediately after the first consultation, I will email you a list of tasks to complete before our second consultation. Generally, this is around filling in the Letter of Wishes and Hospital Passport templates, talking to your Guardians and Trustee, sending off forms to claim an entitlement.

You will also receive a link to Financial Wellbeing’s Private Folder with all the templates, articles, access to booklets and further information to assist you.

Solicitor

It is always best to wait to meet your solicitor until we have had our consultations. You will then be better prepared for this meeting because you will have your Letter of Wishes and have spoken to your chosen Guardians & Trustees. We have discussed the critical areas, including what happens to the family home, so you are fully prepared to meet with your solicitor and write a new Will & Trust.

If your solicitor has any questions after the meeting, I can speak to the solicitor directly to clarify any area. If you don’t have a solicitor, I can recommend a solicitor with expertise in this area who can complete the final process for you.

Cost 

The full Special Needs Trust Package is €300. There are no hidden charges or additional fees. We are here to support parents who have children with special needs.

Time

The first consultation generally lasts approx. 90 minutes. My preference is for both parents to attend the meeting, but again this is easier said than done. It is not a big issue if one parent is missing on the first meeting; they can always attend the second meeting when I present your child’s Special Needs Trust Plan in detail.

Finally

I hope this helps you understand what generally happens during our consultations. As always if you have other questions, you would like us to address you can email them to allan@financialwellbeing.ie or call our office on 021 482 3635.