Daria M. Placitella knows firsthand the challenges of raising a son with special needs. She understands the late-night worries about his future. And while working as an executive vice president with PNC Bank, the Tewksbury resident saw how hard it was to find financial services for families like hers.
Placitella joined with Russell Fishkind, an estate-planning expert, and his son Josh, a lawyer, to create Hope Trust, an automated platform for formulating and maintaining financial and caregiving plans for families with children who have social, behavioral or physical challenges. In October, Hope Trust was named one of 20 Most Fundable Companies by Pepperdine University’s business school, out of a field of 4,500 startups.
The company, based in Holmdel, helps families plan for current and future financial needs, giving them access to bankers, life insurance agents, attorneys, money managers and accountants. The platform brings these services together from various silos, simplifying the planning process.
For example, to be eligible for certain government benefits like disability payments, a person with special needs cannot have more than $2,000 in a checking account. If he or she inherits money, the family requires a special-needs trust to manage those funds. Hope Trust’s technology is designed to streamline the process.
The fee-based, secure service also gathers in one place information on benefits, medications, medical records, upcoming health appointments, and activities a child needs help with. This and other information can be stored securely and updated regularly.
“People talk about having a financial planner and getting money to a 401(k), but if you have a loved one with a special need, you’re actually planning for three retirements,” says Placitella. “You have to plan for their life, too.”Click here to leave a comment