As the parent of a disabled child, one of your biggest concerns when your child reaches the age of majority may be their ability to handle finances. Once your child becomes an adult, they are legally able to manage their own money and make financial decisions for themselves.
Ideally, your child should have the basic skills and knowledge on how to handle their money and perform basic financial tasks well before reaching the age of majority.
Have them participate in simple financial transactions
You can start by having them handle paying at places like grocery stores or restaurants so they learn how financial transactions work.
If your child is going to have a bank account, it may help to have them open an account at the same bank you use. Start with a basic checking and savings account and put your name on the account, as well.
Show them how to pay bills
Teach them the basics about money. Start simple. Show them the bills you receive, explain how to read and understand them and demonstrate how you pay them, whether through cash, check, or credit or debit card.
Although there are other ways to make payments today, such as through apps on a phone, it might be best to save those for later. Keep it simple in the beginning.
Show them how to balance a checkbook. Provide them with an understanding of the importance of keeping their own records showing what they should have in their accounts and comparing them with the bank records.
Take advantage of automation tools
Automating as many things as possible can make things easier for your child. Using direct deposit and auto-pay for bills can help. However, if your child can manage their financial affairs with moderate to minimal assistance, taking these steps can help them gain financial independence.
In Pennsylvania, guardianship is the option for children who have reached the age of majority and are incapacitated and or unable, due to mental, physical, and or emotional incapacity, to manage their person and finances. Guardianship is similar to conservatorship but has more options to protect the incapacitated.