Frequently Asked Questions

image5

What is comprehensive disability/special needs planning?

Comprehensive disability/special needs plan is a plan for your family and your loved one who has a disability or special needs  that is comprised of the 4 components that will shape your family and your loved one's current and future lifestyle, needs, and goals: Legal Planning, Government Benefits, Budget/Financial Planning, and Lifestyle/Transition Planning.

Why is having a comprehensive disability/special needs plan important.

For a variety of reasons.  For one, your loved one is likely entitled or will be entitled to government benefits, such as SSI, SSDI, and/or Medicaid.  Many of these programs have asset and income limitations. Did you know that if you leave assets directly to your loved one, that can make them ineligible for their government benefits and they could be subjected to having to forfeit those assets instead of using them for the lifestyle you envisioned for them?...  With the proper plan in place, you will be able to plan for your loved one's future and hold on to those assets while maintaining their eligibility for the government benefits they're entitled to. 

What is Guardianship/Conservatorship? Is it applicable to me?

Once your loved one with a disability or special needs turns 18 years old, they are legally an adult, just like any other individual.  This means that from a legal standpoint, you no longer have any legal authority over them as it relates to financial, personnel, and medical decisions. In order to retain these rights, you need to petition your local court for guardianship/conservatorship of an incapacitated adult.  Not every adult with a disability or special needs requires guardianship/conservatorship.  It is important to do your due diligence and seek out your local resources and have further discussions with family members to see if this is the appropriate route.  There are alternatives to guardianship/conservatorship as well.  You are also welcome to contact us and we'll be happy to speak with you and see how we can further assist you.

When is the right time to start the planning process?

NOW. Planning can seem to be a difficult process.  There are many subjects that are considered "taboo" and/or uncomfortable to discuss.  Planning can also be seen by many as an unproductive way of spending your time.  Afterall, most of the planning we're doing...we're usually not going to see the fruits of our labors as quickly as we may see spending our time doing other activities.  The sooner you plan and the more proactive you are, the more opportunities and advantages your family and your loved one will have available.  The more opportunities for their growth and development.  The later and more reactive you are with planning, it is less likely those same opportunities and advantages will be there for your family and your loved one.

What is a Special Needs Trust? Is there one type or are there many? Which one fits my loved one?

A special needs trust is a legal document created for the purpose of preserving and using assets for the benefit of an individual with a disability or special needs while maintaining their current or future eligibility for their government benefits.  There are many different types of special needs trusts: Testamentary Special Needs Trusts, 3rd Party Special Needs Trusts, 1st Party/Self-Settled Special Needs Trusts, Income-Qualifying Trusts, and Pooled Special Needs Trusts.  Each has different features and benefits as well as advantages and disadvantages.  You are welcome to contact us and we would be happy to learn more about your situation and be able to tell you which trust or trusts would be applicable to your personal circumstances.

What are ABLE Accounts?

ABLE Accounts are tax-advantage savings accounts for individuals with disabilities or special needs designed for the purpose of preserving the individual's eligibility for their government benefits.  For more information, you're welcome to contact us or go to our Resources page for the ABLE Account link.