Special Needs Lawyer
Protection for Whatever the Future May Bring
If you support a loved one with special needs, you could be worrying about a wide range of concerns for the future.
What will happen when you’re not around?
Who will organize their care?
Who will ensure that their needs are met?
Is there a way to pay for their expenses without endangering government benefits?
How should you provide for finances?
Who can they come to for help?
Even now, you may be struggling just to get needs met for your loved one, and the possibility of a future where you are not there to advocate for them is truly frightening.
Let Us Assist
A dedicated special needs lawyer can help you develop the right plan to serve your loved one in the future and assist now if you are having problems meeting needs in the present. At Huizenga Law, we have the experience to anticipate the potential needs of your loved one within the context of your specific family circumstances. We take the time to delve into detail with you to learn all about your goals, dreams, and concerns so that we can prepare for the best and take steps to meet challenges as they arise.
Individuals with special needs often have unique care concerns. We know how to build a plan to provide the right care while also creating the financial and legal arrangements to ensure needs are met far into the future. We can help you determine whether a trust makes sense in your situation then build a trust with just the right provisions.
Hopes, Needs and Dreams
You have hopes for the future of loved ones, and they have their own dreams and goals. We can help ensure that a loved one with special needs:
- Receives specialized medical care
- Lives in a comfortable, caring environment
- Has funds available to take classes, travel, or pursue a hobby
- Retains the ability to receive government benefits such as SSI and Medicaid
- Enjoys a level of independence appropriate to their situation
How Do We Get There?
Planning for the future of an individual with special needs is not simple or straightforward. We need to have contingency measures in reserve, because future needs and desires can change, and the plan will need to adjust to accommodate the changes.
When an individual with special needs can function on their own but just needs some oversight or occasional assistance, we may help with financial planning, including a trust or an ABLE account, and protective measures such as powers of attorney. If a loved one with special needs requires a supervised living environment, we can help with facility-based or home care, finding the right community-based services and continued care assessment, and building a financial plan to cover needs without interfering with government benefits.
Special Needs Trusts
In many situations, individuals with special needs benefit from the establishment of a Special Needs Trust. These trusts are structured to comply with federal laws in a way that provides maximum benefits without interfering with eligibility for government benefits. (A Support Trust, by contrast, can make the beneficiary ineligible for Medicaid, SSI, and other benefits, and should be avoided for individuals who receive funding and assistance from these sources.) A Special Needs Trust can provide funds to pay for supplemental services such as therapy, respite care, dental work, entertainment, education, and travel.
If the funds to establish a Special Needs Trust come from a personal injury settlement or other funds belonging to the beneficiary with special needs, the trust is considered a Self-Settled Special Needs Trust. In situations where funds in the trust are provided by a parent or other source, the trust is a Third-Party Special Needs Trust. Each type of trust has different requirements, and it is important to follow the rules carefully during creation and administration of the trust.
Resources for Special Needs Estate Planning
Planning for your loved one with special needs requires extensive research to become a well-educated advocate. You will want to keep up-to-date on the latest medical, educational, financial, and legal changes.
While our team works to help in whatever ways we can, we’ve compiled a list of some additional resources you may find helpful to assess your needs and help plan for the future:
The Arc – a national organization serving and advocating for and with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families
Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool – an online program that can help determine whether an applicant may be eligible for different types of benefits through Social Security
Benefits for Children with Special Needs – information about Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits that may be available through the Social Security Administration to children with special needs
Center for Parent Information and Resources a “hub” of information for Parent Centers serving families of children with disabilities
Disability Statistics Compendium – a source that combines disability statistics from different federal agencies in one location annually
Exceptional Parent online – news and information for the special needs community, including families, caregivers, physicians, allied healthcare professionals, and teachers.
Handbook for Trustees – information from the Special Needs Alliance to help families understand the rules for administering and receiving benefits from a Special Needs Trust
National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys – a non-profit association that provides information, education, networking, and assistance to those who deal with the many specialized issues involved with legal services to the elderly and people with special needs.
National Alliance on Mental Illness – an organization dedicated to improving the lives of persons living with serious mental illness and their families. There are NAMI organizations in every state and in over 1,100 local communities across the country.
Special Needs Map – a tool to estimate how much money a child with special needs may need for estate planning purposes
Get the Right Help Now and the Right Plans for Later
You know it can often be a struggle to get the right care for a loved one with special needs. Huizenga Law is ready to help now and in the future.
To talk to us about the ways we can help you help your loved one with special needs, just reach out.