What is special needs planning?

Special needs planning is a process of identifying and providing for the future care and financial security of family members or individuals with disabilities. It can involve creating or updating a will, creating a special needs trust, designating a guardian, establishing a disability income plan, and more.

When do you need a special needs planning lawyer?

If you have a family member with a disability, you may want to consider meeting with a special needs planning lawyer. A lawyer can help you understand your options and make sure that your loved one’s future is protected.

What can a special needs planning lawyer help with?

A special needs planning lawyer can help you:

  • Understand the laws and government benefits that may be available to your loved one
  • Create or update a will or special needs trust and establish an estate plan
  • Designate a guardian from your other family members or loved ones
  • Establish a disability income plan and help with financial planning and/or a supplemental security income plan to ensure that there will be enough money and funds for long-term care
  • Prepare for your loved one’s future medical care and determine things such as Medicaid eligibility
  • Ensure that your family member or child with special needs will have their needs met without jeopardizing the beneficiary’s eligibility for government benefits

What should you look for in a special needs planning lawyer?

When choosing a special needs planning lawyer, you should look for someone who has extensive experience with the practice areas surrounding special needs planning and who has experience helping families like yours. You should also make sure that the lawyer you choose is someone who will put emphasis on the attorney-client relationship and ensure that you can trust them to help you make the best decisions for your loved one.

How much does a special needs planning lawyer cost?

Special needs planning lawyers may charge a flat fee for estate planning and special needs trusts, and may  charge by the hour for other services. Many lawyers do free speaking events or offer a free consultation, so it is a good idea to take advantage of this opportunity to meet with a few different lawyers before choosing one. 

Tina James, Practicing Special Needs Attorney

Special needs require a special lawyer. For a family with a disabled child, estate planning will require special planning to ensure that the disabled child’s needs are met without jeopardizing government benefits. A comprehensive estate plan, which includes a Special Needs Trust, will ensure any assets left to a disabled adult child are properly directed to a Supplemental Trust.

There are strict rules and regulations imposed on the special needs trusts, so it is important to have a knowledgeable attorney who can help you navigate these rules and regulations.


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