Calabasas Special Needs Lawyer

Navigating the Do’s and Don’ts of Creating a Special Needs Plan for a Young Child or Adult With Disabilities | Calabasas Special Needs Lawyer

Planning for the future when you have a child with special needs can be complicated and daunting. The laws are often difficult to understand, and it is equally hard to anticipate the extent of your child’s future care needs. Whether you have an elementary school child whose days are filled with speech therapy appointments, occupational therapy, specialized schooling, and IEP’s or an adult child with disabilities who is completely reliant on you for daily support and care, you must begin planning ahead to ensure that your child will have a safe and secure future—even when you are gone someday.

In general, there is a handful of “Do’s and Don’ts” that parents (and grandparents) can use to navigate their options for creating a Special Needs Plan that is a good fit for their family.  It’s also a wise idea to create this plan with the help of a qualified Calabasas Special Needs Attorney who will ensure that you do not overlook any of the following:

The Do’s Associated with Planning for Special Needs Families

  1. Plan ahead for your kids and grandkids. Today is certain, but nobody knows about tomorrow.
  2. Write out your will and establish a Special Needs Trust to safeguard your assets/properties for your child.
  3. Select a guardian or a designated trustee for your child with special needs.
  4. Petition the courts for a Guardianship for the right to remain in control of your child’s affairs when he or she becomes a legal adult.
  5. Familiarize yourself with the various legal requirements that allow your child to be eligible for public assistance, such as Medicaid or SSI.
  6. Craft a letter of intent outlining your child’s special needs which may entail education, medical, religious, welfare, and other future-related needs.
  7. Discuss with your attorney how to fund the Special Needs Trust to ensure all future care needs will be met.
  8. Above all, discuss with an experienced Special Needs Attorney the right steps to take in order to carry out your plan.

The Don’ts Associated with Planning for Special Needs Families

  1. Leave a property or asset for your special needs child directly in your will. This is because doing so can automatically disqualify the child from government assistance.
  2. Transfer the share of the special needs family member’s property or asset to another family relative to ‘hold.’ This may lead to the loss of the property or misuse.
  3. Place accounts, assets, or property in joint ownership with your child who has special needs. In the future, it will be regarded as the child’s property.  
  4. Make the mistake of leaving your property or asset in the name of a custodian for your child in a Uniform Transform to Minor Acts. It is important to point out that such funds belong to the beneficiary automatically at age 21.
  5. Make your child with special needs the sole beneficiary of any life insurance or retirement account.
  6. Transfer money to a trust that is not created with your child’s special needs in mind.  

If you would like to discuss with an experienced Calabasas Special Needs Lawyer how to create a plan that meets your child’s needs both now and in the future, please call Golshani Law at 818-334-2805 to schedule a consultation.

LA County special needs lawyers

North LA County Special Needs Lawyers: 3 Important Steps for Special Needs Trusts

All parents who have a child with special needs want to make sure that those children are taken care of in every instance – most importantly, after the parents have passed away or can no longer provide personal care for the child. Creating a special needs trust is extremely crucial in keeping that continuity of care and making sure your loved one can receive all the benefits available to them from state and local agencies. Here are three important steps that North LA County special needs lawyers recommend for special needs trusts to ensure it will provide for your loved one with disabilities:

Step 1: Create the Trust

The most important goal of a special needs trust is to make assets and property available for the benefit of your special needs loved one without transferring ownership to them. Ownership of those assets will disqualify them from needs-based benefits and make it much harder to receive necessary care and enjoy a nice quality of life. The first step in making this happen is to contact a lawyer who has experience creating special needs trusts to make sure the trust is valid and covers all your loved one’s needs. The last thing you want to do is create a trust that you believe provides protection for your loved one only to have it invalidated after you pass away due to mistakes made during its creation. This may leave your loved one in a bad situation without any way to receive funds or necessary care.

Step 2: Fund the Trust

A special needs trust must be funded with assets or property once it is signed for it to come into effect. This can happen immediately, or the trust can be funded by a Last Will and Testament at the time of your death. North LA County special needs lawyers will review both options with you and help you choose which one works best for your situation. The assets and property held within the special needs trust are used to pay for items that are not typically covered by government benefits, which means that your loved one can enjoy a better quality of life through housing, education, and entertainment.

Step 3: Administer the Trust

The Trustee is the person who administers the special needs trust. The Trustee is tasked with making sure the terms of the trust are followed and your loved one receives everything they need from the trust. The Trustee typically will be a parent or whoever initially created the trust, however a Successor Trustee should be named to take over in case the original Trustee is incapacitated or passes away. Administering a special needs trust can be difficult since there are so many rules that need to be followed, so it’s advised to consult with an experienced special needs attorney in North LA County to determine how best to choose a Successor Trustee.

If you would like to get more information about setting up a special needs trust for your loved one, or if you’d like to have your current special needs trust reviewed to make sure it provides the right amount of protection for your loved one, please contact us at 818-334-2805 to set up a consultation.

Calabasas Special Needs Lawyer

Can I Appoint Someone to Serve as Co-Conservator Over My Adult Child with Disabilities? |Calabasas Special Needs Lawyer

Choosing to serve as someone’s adult conservator is a huge responsibility.  An adult conservator for a person with special needs is generally tasked with overseeing that individual’s physical well-being, medical care, housing, day-to-day needs, and sometimes his or her finances.

In the majority of cases, it’s a biological parent (or parents) who will apply to become their child’s adult legal conservator when he or she turns 18. But even parents will ask us if they are able to appoint an “alternative conservator” or someone else who can help with all required responsibilities and duties.  Most commonly, we are asked by parents of individuals with special needs if they can appoint one of their other adult children, a stepparent, a sibling, a grandparent, or other relative to serve as co-conservator who could have the same legal rights as the main conservator.

Legally speaking, having a co-conservator is absolutely possible, and it’s something we often encourage to help lighten the load. However, the parent or main conservator cannot appoint this person him or herself.  Instead, the candidate will need to go through a formal legal process with the California courts where they will petition to serve as a co-conservator. During this process, the court will need to verify that the person is indeed capable of serving in this capacity, and from there, a judge will ultimately approve or deny the request.

When we meet with families to start the process of filing for a conservatorship over a young adult with special needs, we will typically ask up front if the main candidate to serve as conservator wants someone else to serve in a co-conservator role.  In general, it’s easier and less expensive to take care of everything all at one time.  The bottom line is that every family is different, and it’s important to work with an attorney who will help you create an individualized plan that actually works over the long haul.

Here at the Law Offices of Lisa S. Golshani, we want parents and caregivers to feel as secure and supported in their roles as possible, as that ultimately results in the best care for the person with special needs.  If you have questions about how to create a Special Needs Plan that takes into account the unique dynamics or challenges in your family, please feel free to contact us at 818-334-2805 to schedule an appointment.