Fratello Law

Special Needs Planning Attorneys in Syosset, NY

Prepare with an Experienced, Dedicated Special Needs Planning Attorney By Your Side

Special Needs Planning Lawyer Syosset

Parents, close relatives, or even friends of people with special needs often take on the responsibility of assisting their loved one living with a disability. Their role may be as a caregiver or involve providing financial help. Parents and others with a loved one living with a disability may feel overwhelmed with the responsibilities associated with caring for their loved one and concerned about preparing for their future needs, particularly when they are no longer able to be there themselves. When it comes to planning for the future of a loved one with a disability, taking the wrong action could jeopardize important and necessary government benefits.

At Fratello Law, we’ve worked with countless families caring for a loved one with special needs and helping them secure a plan long after they’re gone. We help create a personalized and customized estate plan that addresses their loved one’s financial, personal, and medical care, without jeopardizing access to governmental benefits and/or programs to which they are otherwise entitled. When caring for a loved one with a developmental or intellectual disability, physical or cognitive impairment, it’s easy to get lost in the present needs and care without worrying about providing for their future care and needs. Our special needs planning lawyers provide you with the legal services and support you need to feel confident that your loved one’s future is secure.

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Schedule a free special needs planning consult today.

Suffolk Office: (631) 406-5580
Nassau Office: (516) 321-4010

What Is a Special Needs Plan?

Planning for long-term care, especially for individuals with a disability, is crucial for ensuring that they will receive the highest quality of care without jeopardizing their caregiver’s financial stability or their government benefits. It’s important to create a plan that ensures that they continue to receive exceptional care throughout their lifetime, while receiving access to governmental benefits and programs available to enhance their lives.

A special needs plan should be customized to fit the specific needs and circumstances of the disabled individual. Depending on the unique situation, a special needs plan may include the following:

A thorough estate plan (including Power of special needs planning Attorney and Health Care Proxy)
A Special Needs or Supplemental Needs Trust to provide for them throughout their lifetime
Financial planning to secure Medicaid eligibility while safeguarding the caregiver’s assets
Article 81 Guardianship or Article 17A Guardianship

A special needs planning attorney can carefully craft and tailor a disability plan as a part of the caregiver’s estate planning and/or a part of the estate plan of the disabled individual.

Special needs planning services include:

Social Security Disability Income, Food Stamps, Medicare, Subsidized Housing, and others)
Qualifying and applying for home and community-based Medicaid or chronic care (nursing home) Medicaid
Estate planning for family members, including the possible establishment of a lifetime or testamentary special needs trust (sometimes called supplemental needs trust)
Estate planning for the disabled individual, including establishment of first party SNT for holding funds of the disabled person
Application for and joinder of pooled supplemental needs trusts
Petitioning the appropriate court for Guardianship under Mental Hygiene Law Article 81 or under Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act Article 17-A
Advice and counseling to persons serving as trustees of SNTs and/or guardians of persons and property to ensure compliance with trust documents, court appointments, or accountings, as appropriate

At Fratello Law, we have extensive experience helping people secure the financial safety and coverage they need to navigate the challenges of living with a disability and caring for someone with a disability.

Why Is Special Needs Planning Important?

Navigating the care, education, insurance, and finances of raising a child or caring for a loved one with special needs is complex. We dedicate our lives to meeting their needs ourselves, but what will that care will look like if we are no longer? At that point, a person with special needs may be unable to physically, intellectually and/or financially care for themselves. They may also be unable to manage their own finances or property they may have acquired (either through a personal injury settlement, as a gift, or an inheritance). In this instance, it is essential that proper planning is in place to ensure that the assets are managed appropriately, held in a manner as to maximize governmental benefits, and avoid misuse or abuse by a third party.

A person with a disability may be entitled to government benefits such as Medicaid Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Income, housing subsidies, Veteran’s benefits, among other program benefits. These benefits can be significant, especially if the person with the disability requires at-home aid services, institutionalized care, or other costly medical care. These benefits are often means tested, based on one’s resources and/or income, which means that if a person with a disability were to receive a lump sum through an inheritance, settlement award or a gift, the valuable and often necessary benefits could be lost.

Special needs planning makes it possible to protect and plan for the financial needs of a person with a disability. With the appropriate plan, a personal injury settlement, a gift, or any other asset can be appropriately used to provide for the supplemental needs of a person with a disability. A plan can also be created to ensure that the person with a disability continues to receive care even when a parent, caregiver, or guardian passes away or otherwise becomes unable to continue to care for them.

What Is Involved With Special Needs Planning in New York?

Special needs planning typically involves the creation of a specific type of trust known as a special or supplemental needs trust. There are “first-party” special needs trusts which are enacted when the person with the disability owns the assets which will be used to fund the trust. This type of trust usually arises when a person worked, earned money, and acquired property before becoming disabled. It may also come into play if the person with the disability received an inheritance directly or a personal injury settlement after an act of negligence caused their disability.

There are “third-party” special need trusts which are created when a family member or close friend wishes to provide money for the person with the disability either as an inter vivos gift (during the giver’s lifetime) or a posthumous gift (provided after the giver’s death). A first or third-party special needs trust can shield property and money held in the trust, from counting as assets that may disqualify the person with the disability from receiving their government benefits. A trustee named in the trust would have a fiduciary obligation to effectively manage the trust assets and use those assets for the direct benefit the person with the disability.

The use of a special or supplemental needs trust is one part of disability planning. Individuals providing care or serving as guardians to a person with a disability will also need to make other provisions to ensure that their loved one is cared after they are gone.


Consult With an Experienced and Compassionate Special Needs Planning Lawyer at Fratello Law

Tackling a disability plan can be overwhelming, especially on top of the responsibility of caring for the current needs of a disabled person. At Fratello Law, we help families take some weight off their shoulders by taking on the legal responsibilities and helping them create comprehensive and personalized estate plans that address their needs and the needs of their disabled loved one.

Fratello Law is a small firm with a big heart committed to helping families get their estate planning documents and affairs in order, so they have time to focus on what truly matters most. We are looking forward to welcoming you to our client family. Schedule a no-cost consultation today at (516) 321-4010 or complete our contact form.

Our attorneys focus on creating a Last Will and Testament that carries out your wishes for your assets, belongings, the guardianship of your minor children, and more. Learn more.

Our practiced attorneys will guide you in selecting the right type of trust for you, appointing a trustee, and ensuring your assets are distributed to the correct beneficiaries. Learn more.

Our dedicated disability planning attorneys will guide you in creating the right power of attorney and healthcare proxy to ensure your finances and wellbeing are cared for in the event of an illness. They will also help you draft a living will that ensures all of your end-of-life wishes are upheld. Learn more.

Estate Tax Planning

Our estate planning attorneys at Fratello Law will guide you in transferring your hard-earned assets with as little taxation as legally possible by way of the many testate planning vehicles available. Both New York State and the federal government impose a tax on your right to transfer your property at your death if your gross estate exceeds a predetermined exclusion amount. This amount changes every year. We work with you and your accountant to determine the best panning to shelter your wealth.