Practice Area

Guardianships and Special Needs Trusts

Guardianships and Special Needs Trusts

Nusinov Smith LLP attorneys are experienced in planning for families with special needs and can assess your family’s particular circumstances in order to advise on the steps needed to protect your loved one. When someone you care about is no longer able to manage his or her affairs, our attorneys can walk you through the process of developing a court-approved plan to administer funds owned by or due to a disabled adult or child.

Guardianship: When ill-health or other factors render an adult unable to make sound decisions, and if he or she has no valid financial or healthcare power of attorney in place, court intervention to establish guardianship is needed. A family member or friend may seek to become the court-appointed guardian for the purposes of making decisions about the disabled person’s assets and living situation. Our attorneys can help throughout the process:

  • Choose clinicians to determine whether your loved one needs a guardianship.
  • Prepare and file the papers needed to seek court intervention.
  • Represent your interests throughout the court process to become the guardian of your loved one’s person or property.
  • Overcome challenges from other family members or loved ones who are also seeking guardianship.

Special Needs Trusts: When a loved one has impediments to independent living that result in the need for state benefits such as medical assistance, you need an attorney familiar with the impact of financial changes on your loved ones security. Something as simple as an ill-timed inheritance can disrupt a carefully crafted safety net. Do not leave your loved one’s security to chance. Talk to our attorneys today about:

  • Third Party Special Needs Trusts - when you wish to leave a gift in your estate plan to someone with special needs, make sure you plan with trusts and other tools to ensure preservation of state benefits. Third party special needs trusts allow for lifetime or testamentary gifts to recipients whose state benefits require limits on assets or income.
  • First Party Special Needs Trusts - when you or a loved one are qualified for state benefits, receiving a medical malpractice or other litigation settlement might disrupt those benefits. You need an advisor familiar with special needs planning who can guide you through your options for receiving the settlement into a trust specially crafted to provide for a protected fund to sue for needs not met by state benefits. You can create your own supplemental needs trust with an independent trustee or by taking advantage of a pooled special needs trust in certain circumstances.
  • ABLE Accounts - this new tool allows smaller gifts to beneficiaries without risking disruption of state benefits. ABLE accounts allow certain recipients of means-tested state benefits to save money, acquire financial security, and attain a higher level of independence. Learn more by talking to our attorneys today.