Special Needs Planning
Individuals with cognitive or developmental disabilities require special planning and protection. While parents are considered the “natural guardians” of their children, they cannot make legal, financial and health care decisions for their children once they turn eighteen. To maintain their rights, parents must commence Article 17-A guardianship proceedings in Surrogate’s Court. To avoid losing authority, the process ideally should begin about six months prior to the child’s eighteenth birthday.
In addition, assets received by, or left to, disabled individuals will disqualify them from ongoing or future Medicaid benefits and Supplemental Security Income. Proper estate planning will avoid this drastic result. Rather than disinheriting disabled family members or leaving assets to others with the expectation that they will be used for the disabled individual’s benefit, Supplemental Needs Trusts can be designed to protect current assets, anticipated lawsuit settlements or judgments and future inheritances. With the appropriate language, the assets can be used to enhance the individual’s life and provide luxuries while preserving access to and receipt of valuable government benefits. These trusts can be created on behalf of disabled individuals with their own funds or by others, typically parents or grandparents, with their funds.
It is Important that the trust be administered properly so that the disabled beneficiary Is protected and does not become disqualified for government benefits. Even more important, especially for aging parents, is how, by whom and where their adult children will be cared for and protected upon their Incapacity and passing. We have the compassion, knowledge and resources required to assist in creating appropriate care plans for your children regardless of age or disability.
Thanks to Wendy, we found it fairly comfortable to talk about, and make decisions on, difficult topics.
~ Maria and Michael Fazio