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©.

2021-01-11T11:19:30-05:00

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 Rigby, Esq., 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.

2021-01-11T11:15:26-05:00

Obstacles Remain to Exercise of Voting Rights by Individuals with Disabilities

By Emily A. Donaldson, CELA As mid-term elections approach, the stakes are high for individuals with disabilities. Budget battles are being waged at every level of government, threatening Medicaid, SSDI, Medicare and other programs that are essential to their quality of life. The Voting Rights Act of 1965, Americans with Disabilities Act and Help American [...]

2021-01-11T11:14:17-05:00

Planning for Mental Illness Flare-Ups

By Shawn Majette, Esq. Special needs planning for a loved one with mental illness is complicated. Symptoms tend to wax and wane. This makes it difficult to balance protection and security with an individual’s right to privacy and independence. The key is to design legal instruments that adjust to changing circumstances. Families can often predict [...]

2021-01-11T11:12:37-05:00

Changing Attitudes Towards Guardianship

By Scott Suzuki, Esq. Laws have to apply to everyone and this rigid standard can cause problems when dealing with the issue of "legal capacity," because capacity can’t be measured by a single standard. Someone may be perfectly capable of managing some daily tasks but may need assistance with others. For example, a person may [...]

2021-01-11T11:08:12-05:00

Roundup: Inheritances/Caregivers/Court Filings

SNA attorneys have ongoing involvement with the wide-ranging issues faced by individuals with disabilities, their families and the professionals who serve them. Below is a sampling of posts from member blogs and newsletters. The grandparents of my child with special needs left him an inheritance. What do we do? Without special needs planning, a well-intentioned inheritance can leave someone ineligible [...]

2021-04-12T06:23:49-04:00

Transferring Guardianship Across State Lines

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member and current president Scott Suzuki, Esq. of Honolulu, Hawaii. Mr. Suzuki's law practice emphasizes planning for individuals with special needs and their families. He serves on the board of The Arc of Hawaii and is a founding member of Aloha Independent Living Hawaii; former vice president of Family Voices, which facilitates community-based, family-centered care for children with special needs; and a longtime volunteer with the University of Hawaii Elder Law Program.

2021-01-11T11:01:22-05:00

Roundup: When You Suspect a Disability/Guardianship Mediation/Nursing Home Discharges

SNA attorneys have ongoing involvement with the wide-ranging issues faced by individuals with disabilities, their families and the professionals who serve them. Below is a sampling of posts from member blogs and newsletters. When You Suspect Your Child May Have a Disability... It can be overwhelming to realize that your child may have a disability. Read tips [...]

2021-04-12T06:31:24-04:00

Roundup: Supported Decision-Making/Bullying/Pre-Dementia Planning

SNA attorneys have ongoing involvement with a wide array of issues faced by individuals with disabilities, their families and the professionals who serve them. Below is a sampling of posts from member blogs and newsletters. Supported Decision-Making: A Model Alternative to Guardianship? Supported decision-making is an approach to enabling individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to control the [...]

2021-07-20T16:07:02-04:00

Crossing State Lines

Special Needs Planning for Moving to a New State By Wendy H. Sheinberg, CELA No one enjoys moving; it's hard work and involves lots of detail (not to mention all of those boxes). Managing the transition for someone with special needs can be difficult; it's wise to begin planning as soon as you begin seriously [...]

2021-09-29T11:35:15-04:00

How to Assess Future Life Needs for a Loved One with a Disability

By Joanne Marcus, MSW, Executive Director, Commonwealth Community Trust The first months, or even years, after receiving the diagnosis are filled with unexpected questions and challenges when you have a loved one with special needs. “Here-and-now” needs like healthcare, therapy, education and other immediate needs can quickly take priority over future planning, which is understandable. [...]

2021-01-11T10:37:53-05:00

Transferring Guardianship Between States

By Scott Suzuki, Esq. With the increasing mobility of American families, the need to transfer guardianships between states is on the upswing. A new job (or military assignment), supports that better meet the ward's needs, or even a more favorable climate are among the many motivations. Moving is one of the most stressful things that [...]

2021-01-11T10:26:35-05:00

Guardianship and Mental Illness

By Martha C. Brown, CELA When someone is living with severe mental illness, the process of obtaining guardianship can be particularly complex. Symptoms may be intermittent, leading individuals to resist legally imposed assistance and making it difficult for a court to establish whether or not they are competent to care for themselves. The goal, of [...]

2021-07-20T16:07:27-04:00

Microboards and Guardianship

By Ann McGee Green, Esq. This past summer, one of my client families was successful in having – for the first time in Virginia – a microboard-named guardian for their foster daughter with special needs. A microboard is a formalized "circle of support," a non-profit corporation consisting of a small group of individuals who assist [...]

2021-01-11T10:23:15-05:00

Letter of Intent

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Amy C. O`Hara, CELA and her co-author, Sheryl Frishman. Amy and Sheryl are attorneys with the New York law firm Littman Krooks LLP, specializing in special needs planning, trust administration, guardianships, elder law, and estate planning and administration. Amy is an active participant of the Special Needs Alliance publications committee and is a member of the New York State Bar Association. Sheryl's practice is devoted entirely to the advocacy and life planning needs of children and adults with disabilities and their families. She is immediate past President of the Board of Directors of Westchester Arc. Sheryl also serves on the Board of Governors and Legal Committee of NYSARC Inc.

2021-01-11T10:17:07-05:00

Does My Child Need a Guardianship?

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Hyman Darling, Esq., a partner in the Springfield, Massachusetts, firm of Bacon Wilson, P.C. Mr. Darling concentrates his practice in estate planning, elder law, probate, special needs and guardianships/conservatorships. Before joining Bacon Wilson, he was a trust officer for several years. A frequent speaker for civic and charitable organizations, he serves on the American Cancer Society National Professional Advisory Committee and the boards of several western Massachusetts nonprofit organizations for persons with disabilities. He serves on the board of directors and has served as Secretary of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA).

2021-01-11T10:16:38-05:00

Guardianship Varies by State

By Shirley B. Whitenack, Esq. Regardless of the severity of an individual's cognitive impairment, that individual is presumed to be a competent adult at the age of 18. If the person will be unable to make important choices, the naming of one or more guardians should be considered. A guardian is a court appointee who [...]

2021-01-08T12:55:55-05:00

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