What is Special Needs Law?

Although there is no uniform definition of “special needs,” the phrase describes individuals with a wide variety of physical or mental conditions who may require legal support. That support may mean they need protection from ne’er-do-wells who would take advantage, it may mean they need access to public benefits, or any number of other types of assistance. Frequently, parents and grandparents are concerned about how their children and grandchildren will be cared for after the parent’s or grandparent’s death and will want to plan in advance to protect their special needs loved one.

There is no one-size-fits-all way of planning for individuals with special needs. It requires consideration of the child’s strengths and weaknesses, his or her abilities and inabilities including whether decision-making support is necessary. The goal is to enhance the child’s well-being, giving him or her the best chance for a normal, independent life. Because every child is different, every special needs plan will be different as you plan for him or her and those who will assist your child.

The Special Needs Alliance is a peer reviewed group of attorneys who serve the special needs community. They describe special needs law as follows:

  • Special Needs Trusts and Wills. Special needs law attorneys are experienced drafters of special needs trusts (SNTs) and wills for individuals with special needs. Their understanding of this discipline will help to provide long-term financial security and a responsible disbursement of assets through the drafting of wills.
  • Medicaid, SSI and Entitlement Program Eligibility. Personal injury awards and structured settlements may compromise an individual’s ability to access public benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Plaintiff attorneys can partner with a Special needs law attorney to discuss ways to protect those benefits for their clients.
  • Estate, Trust and Tax Planning for Individuals with Disabilities and their Families. Many Special needs law attorneys are also tax professionals who can bring their understanding of law and accounting to clients in need. You can work with a Special needs law attorney to best determine how to maximize deductions without compromising estates and trusts.
  • Financial Planning and Legal Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities. Special needs law attorneys offer a full suite of financial and legal assistance for individuals with special needs, including drafting demand packages, settlement negotiations, Probate Court appearances and motion filings.
  • Guardianships and Conservatorships. Guardianships, conservatorships, and the many available alternatives are a significant part of our members’ practices. Special needs law attorneys are adept at establishing, defending, and administering a guardianship or conservatorship whenever necessary to meet the needs of a family member who is elderly or has a disability.
  • Assistance with Personal Injury/Medical Malpractice Settlements. With a dedication to disability and public benefits law, as well as strong relationships with financial institutions, Special needs law attorneys are well equipped to assist personal injury attorneys in matters involving individuals with special needs.
  • Trust and Estate Distributions and Fiduciary Accountings. Special needs law attorneys understand the complexities involved in distributing trust and estate monies. Their knowledge of tax regulations ensures that funds and fund transfers are handled properly.
  • Estate and Trust Administration. Since Special needs law attorneys are familiar with the unique daily issues faced by individuals with disabilities, they are well equipped to act as third-party administrators for an estate or trust. Their insights can offer peace of mind to families and caregivers.
  • Health Care Decisions and Advance Directives. Special needs law attorneys frequently confront the issue of personal control of health care decision-making as it pertains to clients who are elderly or have a disability. They are familiar with the issues and problems facing these clients as they plan for their long-term health care.

A Nationwide Network of Special Needs Attorneys

EZ Elder Law’s goal is to connect you to experts, so obviously we want you to know about the Special Needs Alliance. The Special Needs Alliance is a nationwide network of attorneys. It is an invitation-only, peer-reviewed group, whose members specialize in assisting individuals with special needs.

At EZ Elder Law, our goal is to answer your questions about all of these issues. We’re just getting started, so give us time. In the meantime, if you have questions, send them to websupport@ezelderlaw.com.

Resources:

Special Needs Posts

Gibbs

Elder Law and Special Needs Law News Roundup – 9-16-2022

We regularly post links to news articles and other resources that related to Elder Law and Special Needs Law. We focus on general news, health and healthcare news, special needs news, events, government sources, financial and retirement news and legal news. Some cited resources are for professionals, but most are news or other helpful articles […]

Articles – Week of September 9, 2022

We regularly scour the internet looking for information relating to elder care, special needs and elder law. Although we review a number of sources collecting information, many of the articles listed here were found using Google Scholar Alerts. If a link you need has gone missing, try pasting the link into the Wayback Machine (Internet […]

Elder Law and Special Needs Law News Roundup – 9-2-2022

We regularly post links to news articles and other resources that related to Elder Law and Special Needs Law. We focus on general news, health and healthcare news, special needs news, events, government sources, financial and retirement news and legal news. Some cited resources are for professionals, but most are news or other helpful articles […]

Articles – Week of September 2, 2022

We regularly scour the internet looking for information relating to elder care, special needs and elder law. Although we review a number of sources collecting information, many of the articles listed here were found using Google Scholar Alerts. If a link you need has gone missing, try pasting the link into the Wayback Machine (Internet […]

Ali

Elder Law and Special Needs Law News Roundup – 8-26-2022

We regularly post links to news articles and other resources that related to Elder Law and Special Needs Law. We focus on general news, health and healthcare news, special needs news, events, government sources, financial and retirement news and legal news. Some cited resources are for professionals, but most are news or other helpful articles […]

Can I get paid to be a caregiver for a family member?

The answer is, yes, maybe. At USA.gov, there are tips for caregiver support including links to programs that could pay you to serve as a family caregiver. That site offers the following insight: A caregiver helps a person with special medical needs in performing daily activities. Tasks include shopping for food and cooking, cleaning the […]

Alternative Baseball®

Recently we received an unsoliticed email regarding Alternative Baseball®, which originated in Dallas, Georgia, and we decided to republish it here. If you have any interest in participating, contact information is below. Greetings! My name is Taylor Duncan! I am 26 years old and I have autism. I am also the Founder and President of […]

Elder Law and Special Needs Law News Roundup – 8-19-2022

We regularly post links to news articles and other resources that related to Elder Law and Special Needs Law. We focus on general news, health and healthcare news, special needs news, events, government sources, financial and retirement news and legal news. Some cited resources are for professionals, but most are news or other helpful articles […]

Articles – Week of August 19, 2022

We regularly scour the internet looking for information relating to elder care, special needs and elder law. Although we review a number of sources collecting information, many of the articles listed here were found using Google Scholar Alerts. If a link you need has gone missing, try pasting the link into the Wayback Machine (Internet […]

Gibbs and Ali

Elder Law and Special Needs Law News Roundup – 8-12-2022

We regularly post links to news articles and other resources that related to Elder Law and Special Needs Law. We focus on general news, health and healthcare news, special needs news, events, government sources, financial and retirement news and legal news. Some cited resources are for professionals, but most are news or other helpful articles […]

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