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Special Needs Planning

It can be a tremendous undertaking to care for a loved one with special needs. Legal planning pertaining to long term health care, trusts & wills related to special needs individuals become more complicated & require experienced lawyers. Special needs planning attorneys at our firm can assist both the special needs individual, and their family, to develop a comprehensive plan.

We assist with critical issues including:

  • Surrogate Decision Making

    Financial and health care decisions, including Powers of Attorney, Health Care Proxies, Living Wills and Guardianships
  • Asset Management and Protection

    Supplemental Needs Trusts (SNTs) are the most effective way to help a beneficiary, by managing the resources in the trust while retaining the child's eligibility for public assistance benefits. There are two types of supplemental needs trusts: "third -party" and "self-settled".
    • Third-party Supplemental Needs Trust are created using a parent for "third-parties" assets to establish the trust and may be establish in a Will, or while the parent is living.
    • Self-settled Supplemental Needs Trust are created by special rules, but funded with the beneficiary's assets (usually received as a personal injury settlement or as an inheritance).
  • Eligibility for Government Entitlements

    Disabled children, or adults who are permanently disabled as a result of a personal injury resulting from an accident, or medical malpractice, have special needs in order to preserve their inheritances or recoveries while maintaining necessary and vital public benefits such as Medicaid. Our experienced attorneys stay current on the rules and regulations necessary to ensure continued eligibility and access to new services as they become available.
  • Special Needs Trusts, Support Trusts & Wills

    A typical Will may contain a support trust for minor children directing a Trustee to make distributions for support, welfare and education. Such a trust will make the child ineligible for SSI or Medicaid, and may not be appropriate for disabled individuals. Parents with disabled children now have a choice to use specialized trusts to provide for those children without jeopardizing the child's right to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), or Medicaid.

Philip L.  Burke profile image

Special Needs Planning Practice Leader

Philip L. Burke
Direct: 585-987-2850
Fax: 585-987-2950
pburke@woodsoviatt.com