Special Needs Planning & Guardianship
Special Needs Planning
Special needs planning involves children or adults with disabilities, for whom Special or Supplemental Needs Trusts are required. Protecting benefits being received by such individuals is often paramount, along with providing appropriate additional support and financial assistance. If a disabled individual has assets or will soon be a beneficiary of an inheritance or settlement, a Self-Settled Special Needs Trust may be required to allow that individual to qualify for benefits private funds may not otherwise be able to provide. On the other hand, if a parent, grandparent or other family member wants to leave an inheritance to a disabled individual, a qualifying Third-Party Supplemental Needs Trust will be necessary, to avoid disqualifying that person from receiving public benefits.
In many situations, the interests of a disabled child or adult must be balanced against the interests of other members of the family. The Special and Supplemental Needs Planning attorneys at Huck Bouma, PC in Wheaton, Illinois can help you and your loved ones qualify for and maintain government benefits while preserving private assets to supplement these important benefits.
Navigating the guardianship process can be a daunting task and poses substantial challenges even for attorneys experienced in guardianship litigation. Each situation is unique, and family dynamics can often complicate the guardianship process even further. The attorneys at Huck Bouma understand how very difficult it is to deal with the disability of a loved one, and we are sensitive to the emotional needs of the disabled person and of his or her family.
Guardianship is the process through which a court appoints a legal decision-maker for a disabled child or adult who is unable or unwilling to make decisions on his or her own behalf. The appointment can be made upon the voluntarily consent of the disabled individual or on petition of a third party. Guardianship can also be on a temporary basis or permanently.
Guardianship proceedings can often be avoided if the disabled person has signed appropriate Powers of Attorney, which clearly state the disabled person’s wishes and name the individuals to make decisions in the event of incapacity. Such Powers of Attorney must, of course, have been executed while the disabled person had the legal capacity to sign such documents. They include a Power of Attorney for Property, which appoints trusted individual to handle the financial affairs of the disabled person, and a Power of Attorney for Health Care, which places the power to make and communicate health care decisions in the appointed agent, including the power to make end-of-life decisions.
If you are considering seeking guardianship of a loved one, you should be working closely with a guardianship attorney who can advise and guide you through the complex process of becoming a guardian as well as explaining your duties and obligations as guardian once an appointment has been made. The Life & Legacy Planning Group attorneys at Huck Bouma have the experience to guide you through the judicial guardianship maze.
The Life & Legacy Planning Group of Huck Bouma practices exclusively in the areas of Wealth Transfer and Estate Planning, Special Needs Planning and Guardianship, Elder Law, VA Pension Planning, and Estate Administration. For more information about the Life & Legacy Planning Group, please click on Life & Legacy Resources in the News & Resources menu. There you will find a short History of the Life & Legacy Planning Group, Definitions of various terms,Frequently Asked Questions, Case Studies, and Links to numerous other sites relevant to this area of law.