Fratello Law

Supplemental Needs Trust Lawyers in Suffolk County, NY

Protect & Support Your Disabled Loved One with Help from an Experienced Attorney

If you have a loved one with special needs, providing for their continued care is a major priority. Part of this care is ensuring their affairs are in order and they always have the long-term care they need, without jeopardizing any current or future governmental benefits, such as Medicaid or SSI. However, you may worry about being unable to be there for your loved one due to work, illness or after you pass. Fortunately, with the help of a supplemental needs trust (SNT), often referred to as a Special Needs Trust and an experienced attorney, you can create an estate plan for your loved one that meets your goals while still keeping them eligible for government programs.

At Fratello Law, we have years of experience helping those with special needs and their families in Smithtown, NY, set up and structure their supplemental needs trusts. Our family-oriented team strives to establish trust and build high-quality relationships with every client, so you can rely on us to support you every step of the way. We understand the complexities involved in SNTs and do everything we can to alleviate your stress. With our compassionate approach and unmatched comprehensive services, you can rest assured you and your loved one are in the best hands.

3 Types of Supplemental Needs Trusts

A SNT is a planning tool used to provide for your loved one’s needs while maintaining eligibility for government programs. Before setting up an SNT, your loved one must have serious, chronic, or persistent special needs, according to New York State Estates, Powers and Trusts Law Section 7-1.12. We understand every individual with special needs is different and that SNTs can be complex, so our attorneys work with you to develop a customized plan and determine which of the following types of SNT would work best for you:


This type of SNT is funded with assets the beneficiary owns and protects their current and future resources from exceeding the maximum limits to qualify for government benefits. These assets may include a lump sum personal injury settlement, direct inheritance and/or a lump sum back payment of benefits. Parents, grandparents, legal guardians, power of attorney or the disabled individual can establish this irrevocable trust. We can help ensure this type of SNT is set up properly and meets all state requirements.


Unlike a first-party SNT that receives funding from the beneficiary, a third-party SNT is funded by parents, relatives, and/or friends. Those who intend to leave an inheritance to the beneficiary often prefer this arrangement to protect this inheritance and use it to pay for expenses government benefits do not cover.


With a pooled SNT, the beneficiary provides funding, but a non-profit organization manages it. The organization does this through a sub-account for the beneficiary, pooling all the assets for investment and distribution purposes.

What Are the Benefits of a Supplemental Needs Trust?

In addition to protecting your loved one’s finances, SNTs can help ensure they have a high quality of life and live comfortably. SNTs offer families and those with special needs the following benefits:

  • Government benefits: An SNT allows you to support your loved one’s lifestyle and meet their needs while preserving their government benefits.
  • Multiple parties contributing: Multiple parties can contribute to an SNT and contributions may be made more than once or over a period of time.
  • Distribution record: Creating an SNT and distributing funds while your loved one is young creates a record on which future trustees can base their decisions.
  • Protect settlements: If your loved one receives a personal injury settlement, these funds may be in their SNT to help them remain financially secure without disqualifying them from government benefits.
  • Strict guidelines: Due to the strict guidelines surrounding SNTs, all distributions made are for the direct benefit of the disabled beneficiary.
  • Resource options: You can fund an SNT with cash, brokerage accounts, life insurance proceeds, property and more.

Ultimately, an SNT can help plan for your loved one’s future and give you the peace of mind that they will be protected after you are gone or if you are unable to care for them directly. Our dedicated attorneys at Fratello Law are here to answer your questions about these trusts and determine the best plan based on your needs and goals.

How Can Fratello Law Help With Your Supplemental Needs Trust?

Our experienced, knowledgeable and compassionate attorneys understand the different types of trust planning and the requirements of each. We take a weight off your shoulders and allow you to focus on your day-to-day life by handling every aspect of the SNT process, including the following:

  • Listening to your story and understanding your unique concerns
  • Working efficiently to get the SNT set up as quickly as possible
  • Helping you understand what to look for in a trustee
  • Acting as a trustee if needed
  • Helping you effectively manage the SNT
  • Inform you about the laws and rules that apply to your SNT
    Determining which type of SNT meets your needs

At Fratello Law, we treat our clients like family and work diligently to make sure your SNT plan is the right choice for you. This attention to detail and commitment to building trust allows us to build a long-lasting relationship with everyone we work with.

Reach Out to a Professional Suffolk County Supplemental Needs Trust Attorney at Fratello Law Today

If your loved one has special needs, our empathetic attorneys at Fratello Law understand their care is of the utmost importance. As one of the select Smithtown firms with Supplemental Needs Trust attorneys on staff, you can trust us to support you throughout the special needs planning process. We always prioritize your and your loved one’s wishes and best interests to create a personalized plan tailored to your goals.

We are a small firm with a big heart that strives to support our clients through every stage of life. Therefore, we offer top-notch comprehensive services that begin with a no-cost consultation. To schedule yours, call us at (631) 406-5580 or complete our contact form today. We look forward to welcoming you to our client family.

Guardianship Services We Offer

Article 81 Guardianship

An Article 81 guardianship proceeding is typically used to petition the court to appoint a legal guardian, including the elderly and disabled, with cognitive or functional limitations that are likely to cause them financial or personal harm. The goal of Article 81 guardianship is to secure a guardian who will be given the legal power to act on behalf of a person with cognitive limitations to manage their property and personal needs. The attorneys at Fratello Law will use their broad experience to help you apply for and maintain an Article 81 guardianship for your loved one.

Article 17A Guardianship

In New York, the parents of your disabled loved one are deemed their Parent and Natural Guardian until they turn 18. Once your loved one turns 18, New York State law deems them a competent adult capable of managing their everyday lives on their own. However, this is not always appropriate. Article 17A Guardianship allows you to remain the guardian of your diasbled loved one and care for their physical and financial needs beyond the age of 18. At Fratello, our experienced attorneys will guide you through the process of applying for and maintaining Article 17A Guardianship.

Guardianship Accounting

If the court finds it necessary, a guardian is appointed to manage the assets and property of your disabled loved one. If you are appointed by the court as your loved one’s guardian, you are responsible for overseeing and using your loved one’s funds to support their wellbeing. In addition to using the funds, as a guardian you are also responsible for guardianship accounting, which requires you to keep a detailed record of all your loved one’s income and expenses. Our expert attorneys can take the burden of guardianship accounting off of your plate, so you can spend more quality time with your loved one.

Change of Guardian

Sometimes an appointed guardian can no longer serve as a guardian. A guardian can voluntarily resign because they no longer want to be the guardian and a new guardian can be appointed by the court. If a guardian is no longer capable or suited to be the guardian, you can petition the court for the removal of the unsuitable guardian. Our attorneys have extensive experience helping people like you and their loved ones exercise all three of these options to serve the best interests of their loved ones.