GUARDIANSHIP & SPECIAL NEEDS PLANNING
As part of our comprehensive Life & Estate Planning services, we assist clients with the following guardianship and special needs planning matters:
Court Proceedings for the Appointment of a Guardian (or Conservator)
Securing "Personal Needs Powers" to Care for Incapacitated Persons
Securing "Property Management Powers" to Care for Incapacitated Persons
Implementing Measures to Protect & Provide For Incapacitated & Disabled Persons
Setting Up Special Needs Trusts to Provide Ongoing Care & Support for Disabled Persons
Securing Medicaid Benefits for Incapacitated and Disabled Persons
Preserving Continuing Eligibility for Medicaid and Other Government Benefits
Protecting & Preserving Personal Injury Settlement Proceeds
Establishing Pooled Trusts to Protect Income and/or Resources
Assistance with Setting-Up Trust Accounts to Provide for Ongoing Care Needs
Providing Legal Counsel and Guidance to Guardianship & Special Needs Trustees
WHEN IS A GUARDIANSHIP NEEDED?
If a loved one becomes incapacitated and is no longer capable of making personal, financial or medical decisions for themselves (whether due to developmental disability, illness or advanced age), and they do not have any advance directives (i.e., a Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy and/or Living Will) in place designating a person to act on their behalf, they may require the appointment of a legal Guardian to manage their financial affairs and make necessary health care decisions. The name for the complex legal process wherein a Court appoints a Guardian is called "Guardianship."
Typical situations which require the appointment of a Guardian include: (1) a minor who turns 18 years of age (and, legally, becomes an adult), but is not capable of managing their own affairs due to a developmental disability, (2) an adult who suffers from certain functional or cognitive limitations (which may be the result of an unexpected illness, a sudden accident or a slow, progressive disease, such as Dementia) which limit their ability to properly take care of themselves or manage their finances, or (3) an aging adult who has become susceptible to undue influence or fraud (e.g., unscrupulous care providers, telephone and mail scams, etc.) and may suffer personal and/or financial harm as a result.
WHAT TYPES OF POWERS DOES A GUARDIAN HAVE?
After hearing all the facts, the Court will determine the specific Personal Needs Powers (including the power to make decisions regarding health care and medical treatments; the hiring of home health aides and other care providers; and making decisions regarding living arrangements, including placement in a nursing home, etc.) and/or Property Management Powers (including the power to manage and invest the incapacitated person's assets; pay their bills, sell their home; set-up Medicaid and/or Special Needs Trusts to preserve their assets; and apply for Medicaid benefits, etc.) that should be granted to the Guardian to address the care needs of the incapacitated person.
WHO CAN BE A GUARDIAN?
The Court will also determine who the best person is to serve as the Guardian. Typically, the Guardian is a close family member or dear friend of the incapacitated person. The same person could be Guardian for both Personal Needs and Property Management; or separate Guardians could be appointed. Co-Guardians may also be appointed. Each situation is different, and it's the Court's job to hear all sides and reach the "right" result for your loved one.
THE LAW OFFICES OF MICHAEL J. AMOROSO WILL GUIDE YOU THROUGH THE COMPLEX COURT PROCESS
We understand the tremendous difficulties and emotional turmoil families experience when faced with the prospect of an incapacitated loved one. If you have a loved one that requires a Guardian, we have the knowledge and experience to represent you through the Guardianship process and alleviate the burden on you so you can focus on more important matters - properly caring for your loved one.
PROPER PLANNING IS CRITICAL TO PROTECT YOUR LOVED ONE WITH SPECIAL NEEDS
Planning for a child with special needs requires careful consideration; especially since most children with special needs (both minors and adults) rely on their parents for care and support. If you're the parent of a special needs child, you have surely asked yourself the following questions: What will happen to my child when I'm gone? Where will my child live? Who will care for my child? Who will make financial decisions on my child's behalf? How will my child get the necessary care and financial support that he or she needs?
We can help you find answers to difficult questions like these, and assist you by designing a Special Needs Plan which will make funds available to provide for your child's care needs during his or her lifetime and, at the same time, preserve his or her eligibility for means-tested government programs such as Supplemental Social Security Income ("SSI") and Medicaid.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A SPECIAL NEEDS TRUST?
The funds placed and held in a Special Needs Trust can be used to pay for "supplemental" things that are not covered by the government programs; things like: home modifications, a wheelchair-accessible van, clothing and personal items, education, vacation and travel expenses, entertainment and recreational costs, special medical and dental care, etc. In short, a properly designed Special Needs Trust would provide for the "extra" care and services which could significantly improve your child's quality of life.
THE LAW OFFICES OF MICHAEL J. AMOROSO WILL WORK TO SECURE YOUR LOVED ONE'S FUTURE
There are various options available to care for a special needs child or adult, but proper planning is the key to ensuring that your objectives are accomplished. If you have a loved one with special needs, we have the knowledge and experience necessary to guide and assist you in making sure your loved one's future is secure; and that he or she will receive the best possible care now; and for the rest of his or her life.
If you have a loved one who requires a guardian or special needs planning, or if you would just like to learn more about Guardianship or Special Needs Planning, please call us today at (914) 686-7272 to schedule a consultation so we can discuss your particular goals and wishes.