West Bloomfield woman writes financial planning book for special needs families

By: Maddie Forshee | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published August 30, 2018

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WEST BLOOMFIELD — Parents know how hard it can be to plan retirement, that’s only made harder when a child still needs support due to special needs. 

West Bloomfield-based financial planner Minoti Rajput has compiled a book based on her experiences in helping over 1,500 families with children with special needs throughout her 40-year career. 

“The bottom line is if the parents don’t do the planning now, the future of the child’s well-being will be questionable or in jeopardy,” she said. “The planning is complicated. It’s a partnership between the parents’ planning and the government benefits. As a result, every parent has to do what they can.” 

Rajput said she was the first wealth adviser to specialize in special needs families in Michigan. Her book, “Beyond a Parent’s Love: Lessons Learned in Life-Planning for Special Needs Children,” will be available in October. 

“Not much has been written about what the families go through,” said Rajput. “I didn’t want to exit (after retirement) and look back and feel a regret that I never documented any of the amazing things about these families. ... This book is more about human interest stories about families: their challenges, tribulations and triumphs.”

The book offers financial planning advice alongside real stories of families that worked with Rajput to plan their financial future despite the obstacles. 

“I selected several families where I thought their stories had a message I could convey,” she said. 

Rajput said she took what she has learned from counseling these families and turned it into advice on how to utilize state and federal resources and the types of trusts needed in certain circumstances, as well as issues surrounding guardianship, caretakers, protecting small businesses and assets, and how to plan for the unexpected. 

“Initially, families were completely in the dark. Since then, a lot of changes have taken place for the positive.”

Jeffrey Hoenle, president of the Financial and Estate Planning Council of Metro Detroit, said he encourages families with special needs children to seek out those who can help them. 

“The tools and resources available are so intricate in the details (that) it requires a lot of thought,” he said. 

“A financial planner has gone through extensive training of all categories of a family’s financial plan,” he said. “Working with a certified financial planner brings a lot of value to a family. They really are taking into consideration all consequences of choices.” 

In addition to working with a financial planner, Hoenle suggests working with an attorney who specializes in special needs laws.

Before meeting with a financial planner, families should have a clear, documented understanding of the special needs of their family — what a special needs child requires now and how those needs will change, as well as where the child lives, where the child should live and whether the child needs a caretaker. 

Families also need to assemble any documents relating to estate planning, as well as documents that outline their current financial situation. 

Rajput is the owner of Secure Planning Strategies in Southfield.