Guardianship Should Be a Last Resort


This post was written by former Special Needs Alliance president Katherine N. Barr, Esq., a member of Sirote & Permutt’s Private Clients, Trusts and Estates Practice Group, Birmingham, Alabama.  Much of her practice involves special needs planning, through which she assists clients in providing for a family member in a way that does not jeopardize government benefits.  She is a fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) and has been cited in The Best Lawyers in America©.

Guardianship Should Be a Last Resort2019-09-09T11:35:42+00:00

Financial Abuse of Individuals with Disabilities


This installment of The Voice was written by Special Needs Alliance member Elizabeth L. Gray, CELA, a principal with the firm of McCandlish Lillard, with offices in Fairfax and Leesburg, Virginia. She has practiced special needs and elder law for over 20 years and has been listed in Best Lawyers of America annually since 2012. She also sits on the board of directors of Brain Injury Services.

Financial Abuse of Individuals with Disabilities2019-07-05T13:21:29+00:00

Letter of Intent Gives Valuable Advice to Future Caregivers


By Glynis A. Ritchie, Esq. Parents of children with special needs have lots on their plates. When it comes to estate planning, the tasks at hand can be complicated, and the choices parents have to make – how to provide for their child’s needs when they are not around and whom to name as fiduciaries [...]

Letter of Intent Gives Valuable Advice to Future Caregivers2019-07-05T13:28:43+00:00

Tax Law Changes for Those with Disabilities


This edition of the Voice was written by SNA member, Robert B. Fleming. Robert is a partner in the Tucson, Arizona law firm of Fleming & Curti, PLC. He is a long-time member of the Special Needs Alliance and frequently speaks on special needs issues to lawyers and family members all over the country. You can subscribe to his newsletter and podcast at

Tax Law Changes for Those with Disabilities2019-07-30T12:06:44+00:00

Looking Ahead: Transition Planning for Life After School


By Sage C. Hart, Esq. High school graduation is a milestone for any student, but when a young adult has disabilities, it ushers in a period of even greater change. While attending public school, students with special needs are legally entitled to a wide array of services, but once they leave (by the age of [...]

Looking Ahead: Transition Planning for Life After School2019-05-16T12:03:48+00:00

Bullying and Kids with Disabilities


By Judith L. Smith, Esq. Bullying in its many forms is a serious, all-too-common problem, and social media has moved this abuse online. The bullying may involve insults, threats or physical violence, with results that range from damaged self-esteem to poor academic performance to bodily injury. Children with special needs are more frequently targeted by [...]

Bullying and Kids with Disabilities2019-05-16T12:04:30+00:00

Selecting a Trustee – Some Things to Consider


Parents and grandparents often have a pretty good sense of when they may want to create a special needs trust ("SNT") for their child or grandchild with atypical needs. They also understand, perhaps after discussion, when their family's circumstances warrant a need for money management, or if an inheritance will jeopardize essential means-tested government benefits, like SSI or Medicaid. In meeting with a special needs attorney, Clark and Cathy explained that Sara, their daughter with developmental delays, would be unable to manage her own inheritance. The question they had not fully considered was, "Who should hold that job after they are gone?"

Selecting a Trustee – Some Things to Consider2019-07-01T12:09:16+00:00

Wings for All® Takes the Fear Out of Flying


Barbara Hughes, center, Vice President of The Arc Dane County, chaired the stunningly successful event.  From left, Danielle Sendelbach and Bianca McCormick from Barbara’s office were two of the many volunteers who helped out. On Saturday, October 20, nearly 50 children and adults with special needs, along with adult companions, braved high winds and the [...]

Wings for All® Takes the Fear Out of Flying2019-05-16T12:04:54+00:00

Sometimes Less is More – Alternatives to Plenary Guardianship


The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Timothy J. Rigby, who practices with Hart, Southworth & Witsman in Springfield, Illinois. The firm’s focus is estate planning and transactional matters, and Tim concentrates his practice in the areas of estate planning and special needs planning.

Sometimes Less is More – Alternatives to Plenary Guardianship2019-08-26T19:13:46+00:00