The Law Office of Jeffrey P. Story, LLC
Special Needs Planning

Special Needs Planning

In helping a person with a disability, there are planning needs that should be mentioned to the family and/or person with the disability. A Special Needs trust may be part of the overall planning, but there are other aspects of Special Needs Planning that are important to address. If the person has had the disability from birth and lacks the ability to make decisions for themselves, they may well need to have a guardianship appointed for their benefit when they reach age 18.

The person may have enough capacity to make financial and healthcare decisions for themselves, in which case a set of Powers of Attorney are a good idea. This is desirable for anyone turning 18, actually, but the parent of a child who is turning 18 with a disability will want to take into consideration their adult child’s need for a degree of financial and personal independence to live a life with dignity.

If their adult child qualifies for Social Security Administration benefits, they will want to help their child apply for SSI benefits and take care to protect these benefits going forward. Likewise, they will want to obtain Medicare and Medicaid benefits. If the child’s disability is severe, there are state programs for receiving Medicaid benefits while living in the community. It may be desirable to help their child find a Community Integrated Living Arrangement or CILA to live among peers in the community and have a richer social life.

Their child may want to work part time to earn some money and have the sense of contributing to society in their own way. If this is desired, they may qualify for establishing an ABLE Account to deposit their earnings and not have to worry about SSI rules pertaining to those funds. There are many nonprofits that are dedicated to helping people with disabilities to live more independently as well as advocating for their rights.

With some people with disabilities it will be necessary to have a team of professionals helping to make sure their medical and personal care needs, financial investments and legal needs are properly met. A Letter of Intent is essential for helping transition a caregiver parent to the next descendant in line to serve as Guardian or agent in order to better understand personal preferences and values that the person has. In all, Special Needs Planning encompasses Estate Planning for the parents and family of the person with a disability, as well as the extra steps that can be taken to help them have a better life.

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Excellent attorney who cares about people

I found Mr. Story on a website - I live in Texas but had a matter taking place in Evanston, IL and I needed legal assistance. I'm certain that Mr. Story is a busy man but he listened to my long, detailed issue. He asked questions - he was genuinely concerned and gave me excellent information so that I could move forward. It's so hard not being in the same state when you are trying to take care of an important matter. He took the time to walk this through with me and I was so grateful that I found him.

~ Monica July 16, 2019

I hired Jeffrey to help me navigate the paperwork for my mother’s Medicaid application. I was being 100% honest on the application, but I knew there were going to be things in our case that looked odd to the caseworker. How true this turned out to be. The application was ultimately approved, but it took nearly a year. In that terribly stressful time, through every additional set of document requests, I relied on Jeffrey’s advice and counsel. He kept me calm, focused, and on track. He knew when to push back when the requests were ridiculous, and when to seek additional advice when they were baffling. And through it all he never billed me for a single dollar more than the flat fee I paid up front. I highly recommend Jeffrey.

~ Frank September 8, 2022
Will & Trust

Jeff executed a Will and Trust for my elderly mother. He gave us expert advice and helped my mother enormously with a contentious situation. We initially contacted Jeff because he specializes in legal affairs for the elderly and found his knowledge and sensitivity to issues most reassuring and helpful.

~ anonymous September 7, 2022
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