For both a child with special needs and the parents of that child, the teenage years can sometimes be difficult, particularly if the child feels excluded from typical teenage activities. Thanks to former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow and his foundation, thousands of teenagers with special needs across the world recently participated in their own incredible prom night known as the “Night to Shine.”
The third annual “Night to Shine” took place right before Valentine’s Day at 375 venues spanning the globe. This year, there was at least one event in every state as well as in 10 other countries reaching as far away as Uganda. The proms, organized by Tim Tebow’s foundation, relied on churches to organize and provide volunteers to staff proms that featured a red-carpet entrance complete with paparazzi, hair and makeup stations, limousine rides and karaoke, among the numerous super star amenities. Many of the events will be held at places of worship, but organizers said venues this year will also include a baseball stadium, a theme park, and a former penitentiary.
The Tim Tebow Foundation said it spent over $3 million on the events which took place on the same night, Feb. 10th, all over the world. The organization received help from over 150,000 volunteers. Over 75,000 individuals with disabilities attend the proms this year, which are free and open to those ages 14 and older with special needs.
“One of our favorite parts of prom night is watching this movement of celebration and love make its way across the time zones around the globe,” said Erik Dellenback, executive director of the Tim Tebow Foundation. “The celebration starts at 6 p.m. in the Philippines, and we will watch it move across the world to the moment it ends at 9 p.m. in Hawaii.”
If you missed the Night to Shine event this year, and you want to make sure you are involved for 2018, you can find information on the Tim Tebow Foundation website. You can also sing up to volunteer to help the next Night to Shine happen in your area or donate to the 2018 events.
Estate Planning for Your Teenager with Special Needs
If you are the parent of a teenager with special needs, you are undoubtedly looking into the near future when your child reaches adulthood and the issues that will arise when the happens. Regardless of the extent of your child’s special needs, the law will consider your child an adult in the near future. As a parent, you need to be prepared. Once your child is a legal adult, qualifying for state and federal assistance programs will be based on your child’s income and assets. Consequently, anything gifted directly to your child, either by you or by another well-meaning family member, could put your child’s eligibility at risk. As a parent, however, you likely want to continue to provide financial support for your child, both while you are here and when you are gone. This is why estate planning for the parent of a child with special needs takes on a heightened importance.
One common solution is to create a special needs trust. Also referred to as a “supplemental needs” trust, a special needs trust is a specialized trust that allows you to contribute to the support of your child with special needs without jeopardizing eligibility for state and federal assistance programs, such as Medicaid and SSI. For a trust to be recognized as a special needs trust by the federal government very strict rules of construction and language must be adhered to when creating the trust agreement. For this reason alone it is imperative that you work closely with an experienced North Carolina estate planning attorney if you believe a special needs trust may be right for your estate plan.
For more information, please download our FREE estate planning worksheet. If you have additional questions or concerns relating to estate planning for a child with special needs in North Carolina, contact an experienced North Carolina estate planning attorney at The Law Offices of Cheryl David by calling 336-547-9999 to schedule an appointment.