New Plans Needed to Provide Financial Security for Special Needs Adults

Shouspecial needs resourcesld there be 529 like plans for adult special needs children? Should UTMA accounts be extended past age 21 for special need adult children?

Special needs children are on the rise and the angst their parents have for making sure that when they grow up the adult children are taken care of long after the parent dies, is very familiar to most estate planners.

Wondering if it is time for out of box solutions such as 529 like plans for those children where family members and others could plan in advance for the care that will be needed long after death.

The plans could be funded with investable assets and/or life insurance and would be much simpler to fund and administer than irrevocable trusts. The trick would be how to obtain a tax deduction for this and the compliance aspects- how to make sure the fund is administered for individuals with special needs.

Or should UTMA accounts be able to be extended past age 21 for those adult children with special needs? It may be time to start exploring innovative options to incentivize families and individuals (not the government) to provide the financial safety net and make sure that these adult children receive the care they need for the duration of their lifetime.

Patricia Annino is a sought after speaker and nationally recognized authority on women and estate planning.  She educates and empowers women to value themselves and their contributions in order to ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS in the world – and in so doing PROTECT THEMSELVES, those they love, and the organizations they care about.  Annino recently released an updated version of her successful book, Women and Money: A Practical Guide to Estate Planning to include recent changes in the laws that govern how we protect our assets during and beyond our lifetime.  To download Annino’s FREE eBook, Estate Planning 101 visit,


  1. Legislative proposals along these lines have been floating around Congress for a little while now. One of the main proposals was dubbed the ABLE Act. Not sure where that stands now and what the prospects might be. I agree with you that this is overdue.

  2. I’m pleased that someone raised this important issue! Approximately 10 years ago the university benefited greatly via a special needs trust a benefactor had established to benefit her disabled son, and naming the university as the final beneficiary. Unfortunately the son only survived her by a few weeks–but the $600,000 greatly enhanced the Institute the benefactor had established. I now pose an “open ended question” about the use of unused funds when the situation arises.

  3. Lucie Lovell says:

    Being the parent of a special needs adult (25 year old son), I favor such a product that would assist families in planning now for when the time comes for assist the adult child with financial aid. This would be especially helpful with families who are on the lower income bracket and don’t have the assets to fund a trust but want to save something for their child’s future.

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