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Welcome to the Fool (and I'll keep the vacation condo in mind),

You're asking all the right questions regarding the future. My 6 year old daughter has CP and mental retardation, and we're working through some of the same issues.

We've set up trusts the same way you've described and we're holding off on ILITs for now. By my calculation there was more cost than benefit for us at this time. Our general strategy is to invest like crazy and eliminate the need for insurance by the time we reach 45 or so (7 more years).

Regarding the research into government programs, I've only done some light reading on the subject. I've got a book at home that covers government programs very well. I'll pull it out tonight and post the title/author tomorrow. We're trying to volunteer in organizations that work with young adults facing similar challenges to our special one so we can meet parents who might be helpful.

To your question of grandparents' gifts, I believe they can go directly to the trust without jeopardizing SSI, etc. in the future. Having assets will trigger some expenses at the trust level, however, so it might make sense to hold off until the deposit will be thousands. You might try asking this question on the Family Fool board, trusts are often discussed there.

Regarding autism, did you see the article in the Wall Street Journal last week regarding new clinical trials? It showed how much difference a determined parent can make. Also, we follow the Feingold diet in our house with some success. Have you heard of it or tried it?


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