New York Special Needs Planning

Experienced New York Attorneys Helping Individuals with Special Needs Plan for the Future

Goldfarb Abrandt & Salzman LLP attorneys can assist clients who have special needs or family members with special needs through the use of Special Needs Trusts and other estate planning tools. We can provide a plan to help preserve government benefits while providing for a disabled person’s supplemental needs.

Caring for family members or other loved ones with special needs can overwhelm anybody. When youre a caregiver, it can be hard enough to think about getting through the next week, making long-term planning seem impossible. The future is coming whether you like it or not, however, and its important to take steps to protect your loved ones needs. Whether that means making sure that their financial interests are protected or that they are able to get the care they need, its imperative to make a plan to ensure their future security.

The lawyers of Goldfarb Abrandt Salzman & Kutzin LLP have been helping families with legal needs related to special needs planning for more than 25 years. We have offices conveniently located in White Plains and Manhattan in the Empire State Building. To schedule a consultation with one of our lawyers, call our office today at (212) 387-8400 or send us an email through our online contact form.

The Importance of Planning for the Future

One of the primary aims of special needs planning is to help individuals with special needs preserve their eligibility for public benefits like Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Eligibility for these programs is typically asset-based, and special needs individuals with even a modest inheritance or personal injury settlement or award may be disqualified. As a result, preserving benefit eligibility is the only thing that prevents many special needs individuals from spending everything they have just to obtain necessary care.

Financial concerns are not the only issue that makes planning for the future extremely important. There may come a day where you no longer can make decisions regarding import issues regarding your loved ones life. By planning now, you can ensure that he or she will be in good hands in the future and that his or her needs are met.

Special needs planning can involve many complicated and personal issues that can be difficult to navigate. The most effective way to ensure that you have adequately planned for your loved ones future is to consult with an experienced special needs planning lawyer.

Supplemental/Special Needs Trusts in New York

Special needs trusts (sometimes called supplemental needs trusts) are specialized trusts that are used to protect the assets of a person with a disability while preserving his or her eligibility for public benefits. In this type of trust, the special needs individual is the beneficiary of the trust. It can either be funded with the beneficiary’s own assets (if, for example, he or she received an inheritance or a personal injury settlement) or by a third party, such as parents or grandparents funds. The funds in a special needs trust can fund the beneficiarys supplemental needs above those covered by public benefits. These supplemental needs may include:

  • Education
  • Travel
  • Recreation
  • Entertainment

Importantly, the funds from a special needs trust should typically not be used for the beneficiarys basic needs, like food and housing. Special needs trusts are extremely complicated, so anyone considering creating one should do so with the assistance of an experienced special needs planning attorney. Any errors made while creating the trust or while using trust assets could jeopardize the trust assets as well as the special needs beneficiarys eligibility for public benefits.

ABLE Accounts: A Relatively New Option

In 2017, New York enacted the ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) Act, under which certain people with special needs can open specialized bank accounts known as ABLE accounts. Government agencies will not consider assets in them when determining an individuals eligibility for public benefits. Some people prefer ABLE accounts to special needs trusts because they are easier to create. There are certain limitations with ABLE accounts, however, including the following:

  • The individual creating the account has been disabled since before he or she was 26 years old
  • As of 2018, an individual can deposit a maximum of $15,000 into an ABLE accoun
  • There are limits on the total lifetime deposits

Whether an ABLE account is appropriate for in your situation depends on a number of factors, and an attorney can help you determine what special needs planning tools are right for you.

Guardianships in New York

If you are the caretaker of a special needs person, it is important to consider what will happen when your loved one turns 18, or you are unable to care for him or her anymore. In some instances, it may be a good idea to plan to have a guardian appointed so that someone you trust can continue to make decisions regarding critical issues in your loved ones life. The powers associated with a guardianship can be carefully tailored to a specific situation. For example, if your loved one is generally able to live independently but needs help managing money, you can customize a guardianship to only extend to financial decisions. On the other hand, for people with significant needs, a guardianship could extend to decisions about healthcare, living arrangements, and relationships. An attorney will be able to help you determine whether you should create a guardianship and what might be appropriate terms.

Call Us Today to Speak with a New York Special Needs Planning Attorney

At Goldfarb Abrandt & Salzman LLP, we understand how hard it can be to provide for a family member with special needs and also how confusing it can be to navigate the process of protecting assets while preserving eligibility for benefits. We have more than 25 years of experience helping disabled and elderly adults plan for the future and engage in individualized special needs planning for each client we work with. We are committed to protecting individuals who are unable to care for themselves and helping families obtain peace of mind through comprehensive and solution-oriented special needs planning. To schedule a consultation with one of our experienced attorneys, call our office today at (212) 387-8400 or contact us online.


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