MassMutual Financial Group

June 29, 2011 09:00 ET

MassMutual Stresses the Importance of Long-Term Planning for Families of Children With Special Needs

Families With Specific Needs Can Find Help and Assurance From a Qualified Professional to Better Plan for Their Financial Futures

SPRINGFIELD, MA--(Marketwire - Jun 29, 2011) - Families with children having disabilities must weigh many critical decisions early in their child's life to avoid turmoil in adulthood. Deciding on guardianship, education and work opportunities, medical costs, and long-term financial plans are just a few of the challenges that lie ahead.

Indeed, nearly three quarters of families living with autism and other disabilities worry about their child's financial future, but most have done little to plan, according to recent studies undertaken jointly by Easter Seals and Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual).

MassMutual and Easter Seals released their "Living with Disabilities Study" in 2010 and "Living with Autism" in 2008 in an effort to raise awareness about this planning inaction. This year, MassMutual also sponsored a 1-hour television documentary, "Autism: Coming of Age". Told through the voices of real families, the documentary discusses how the social service system and families will handle an estimated 800,000 children with autism entering adulthood.

Parents with children should know they're not alone on this journey. And it is critical to seek help and assurance from a qualified professional who can work with specific family needs.

"Reaching out to a professional who understands the special needs community and their challenges is critical. There is a lot at stake because missteps can jeopardize important benefits and other issues. MassMutual recently developed, in conjunction with The American College, the Chartered Special Needs Consultant™ (ChSNC) designation and educational curriculum for financial professionals. This in-depth training better prepares financial professionals to navigate these concerns and can help position families for a bright financial future," said John Chandler, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at MassMutual.

Before sitting down with a trusted advisor, consider these questions at a family meeting. The dialogue may surprise you.

  • Do you know who will care for your child when you are no longer able to?
  • Are you certain that the planning you may have already done won't "unintentionally disqualify" your child from receiving government benefits?
  • Have you determined whether a supplemental needs trust will be appropriate for your child with special needs, and if yes, have you determined how it will be funded?
  • Are you concerned that the future cost of "special care" for your child may negatively impact your own lifestyle during your retirement years?
  • Do you have a written plan that specifies how your child is ultimately to be cared for?

About MassMutual

Founded in 1851, MassMutual is a leading mutual life insurance company that is run for the benefit of its members and participating policyholders. The company has a long history of financial strength and strong performance, and although dividends are not guaranteed, MassMutual has paid dividends to eligible participating policyholders every year since the 1860s. With whole life insurance as its foundation, MassMutual provides products to help meet the financial needs of clients, such as life insurance, disability income insurance, long term care insurance, retirement/401(k) plan services, and annuities. In addition, the company's strong and growing network of financial professionals helps clients make good financial decisions for the long-term.

MassMutual Financial Group is a marketing name for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) and its affiliated companies and sales representatives. MassMutual is headquartered in Springfield, Massachusetts and its major affiliates include: Babson Capital Management LLC; Baring Asset Management Limited; Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers LLC; The First Mercantile Trust Company; MassMutual International LLC; MML Investors Services, LLC, Member FINRA and SIPC; OppenheimerFunds, Inc.; and The MassMutual Trust Company, FSB.

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