Special Needs Planning

Government Programs for Children With Special Needs

For parents of a child with special needs, the support and resources needed can feel overwhelming. The Special Needs Alliance is a national alliance of attorneys for special needs planning.While some resources vary by state, there are government programs that can help alleviate some of the most urgent issues. The following provides an overview of the most popular offerings.

Millennials and Estate Planning

This post was authored by attorney Shannon Laymon-Pecoraro, CELA of Hook Law Center, P.C., Virginia Beach, VA. Shannon focuses her practice on elder law, special needs planning, estate and trust administration, estate planning, asset protection planning, financial planning, guardianships and conservatorships. She has been a SNA member since 2017. The pandemic has changed every aspect [...]

2024-06-19T10:29:14-04:00Tags: |


The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of the Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Edward Wilcenski, Esq., a founding partner of the law firm of Wilcenski & Pleat, PLLC in Clifton Park, New York. He practices in the areas of Special Needs Planning, Elder Law, and Trust and Estate Planning and Administration. Ed is a past President of the Special Needs Alliance, and writes and lectures frequently on issues affecting individuals with disabilities and their families

Long-time readers of The Voice know that we rarely repeat an issue. In the world of disability there are many important topics to choose from, so the challenge has really been in deciding which topics are of most interest to our readers rather than finding something interesting in the first place. Because the Voice has many new readers each year, we know that many of our current readers may have missed this article when it first appeared in November of 2010. With this in mind, we’ve decided to reprint this article written by Edward V. Wilcenski, Esq. hoping that it may catch newer readers before they make their final decisions on how to make holiday gifts to their family members and friends with disabilities.

2024-05-07T14:08:42-04:00Tags: |

Special Needs Beneficiaries Can Be Explicitly Included in Estate Planning

This article for The Voice® was written by Mark B. Heffner, CELA, a graduate of Harvard College and Boston College Law School. He is the principal of Heffner & Associates, a firm with offices in Warwick and Barrington, Rhode Island, focusing since 1992 on elder law, special needs planning, and estate planning. Mark is a Certified Elder Law Attorney, and became a member of the Special Needs Alliance in 2004. He can be found at www.hefflaw.com

Special Needs Trusts Do More than Protect Benefits

Bruce D. Reinoso, Esq., is Senior Counsel in the Family Wealth and Estate Planning Department of Woods Oviatt, Gilman, LLP, of Buffalo and Rochester, New York. He concentrates his practice in the areas of trusts, estates, estate planning and elder law. Too often, families planning to create a third party special needs trust (SNT) think [...]


Special Needs Planning Benefits All Siblings

This edition of the Voice is written by Benjamin A. Rubin, Esq., LLM, a partner in Rubin Law, with offices in Buffalo Grove, Chicago and Old Orchard, Illinois. The firm focuses exclusively on serving the families of children and adults with developmental disabilities, intellectual disabilities and mental illness. Having a brother with autism, among other significant disabilities, has profoundly shaped who Benjamin is today, including the type of law he chose to practice.

2024-05-07T14:01:40-04:00Tags: |

How to Get Started with Special Needs Planning

By Kelly A. Thompson, Esq. Given packed schedules, fragmented services and lack of information, how can families get started with special needs planning? A University of Illinois study found that fewer than half its respondents had done long-term planning for their children with developmental disabilities. Getting Started While the challenges are significant, the reality is [...]


The Impact of Tax Reform on Special Needs Planning

By James McCarten, Esq. As a 2017 holiday present to taxpayers, Congress passed tax legislation that your representatives, senators and many tax professionals have described as the most significant overhaul of our tax laws since 1986, when President Ronald Reagan's tax bill was passed. What follows is an overview of those provisions of what was [...]

2024-05-16T16:42:49-04:00Tags: |

Don’t Let an Emergency Find You Unprepared

By Elizabeth L. Gray, Esq. While snowstorms, fires and other disasters can plunge entire communities into chaos, the challenges for those with disabilities are often even more acute. But with careful planning, individuals with special needs and their families can reduce the disruption. Get Informed Begin by contacting your local emergency management office to understand [...]


SNT Beneficiaries on the Move: First in a Series

This installment of The Voice was written by Special Needs Alliance member Kristen M. Lewis, Esq., who practices in Atlanta, Georgia at Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP. Kristen is also a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. She is a frequent national speaker on Special Needs Planning, and serves on the Boards of numerous non-profits that support individuals with disabilities and their families. In her vast amounts of free time, she trains certified service dogs for Canine Assistants in Milton, Georgia.


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 [...]