New York Special Needs Planning
Eighteen percent of the U.S. population – some 51 million individuals – have some form of disability. Nearly two-thirds of them are categorized as having a severe disability, one that impairs mobility, communication, cognition, or interpersonal skills.
Largely due to the activism of family members, legal protections, benefit programs, and social services have been established to provide a foundation for the educational, medical, and economic well-being of individuals with disabilities. Social attitudes, too, have evolved, making it easier for those with special needs to build lives within the greater community. But a great deal remains to be done, and much responsibility falls to parents, siblings, and self-advocates themselves to ensure that legal rights are respected and that security is ensured. That’s where we can help.
NY Special Needs Planning Attorneys Helping Families of Persons with Disabilities
All parents make plans for their kids, but when a child has special needs, those plans require additional dimensions. Your estate plan should address questions of guardianship and include detailed instructions – a letter of intent – for anyone who may assume that role.
Because public benefits such as Medicaid and SSI (Social Security Income) will probably be key to your child’s financial well-being – yet don’t cover expenses commonly deemed necessities – you should establish a supplemental fund. A special needs trust – sometimes called a supplemental needs trust – is a vehicle that will enable you to set aside funds to enhance your child’s lifestyle without affecting her eligibility for government programs.
At the age of 18, an individual with special needs is legally considered an adult, regardless of the severity of the disability. If your child will be unable to make important life decisions, you should begin the process of filing for guardianship around the age of 17 or sooner, based upon your specific situation. By her mid-teens, you should begin transition planning in preparation for graduation from high school, at which point, many of the social services to which she has become accustomed will change. You, your child, and her network of support should explore further educational options, the possibility of a career, and residential preferences – all the factors that comprise the entry to adulthood.
Our New York special needs planning attorneys believe in your child’s right to achieve her aspirations. They have the experience and skill to partner with you to provide your loved one with the opportunities that you dream of. Contact us now to learn how we can help.