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Special Needs Planning

Creating and Enhancing Systems of Support 

Special needs planning focuses on how best to meet the needs of a loved one who is disabled and in need or will become in need of assistance.  In this area, Mr. Henry counsels his clients through the care planning process, public benefits program eligibility with programs like SSI and Medicaid, resource referrals, and special needs trusts formation, modification, and trust advising.  Special needs trusts can be used to maintain public benefits eligibility  for a loved one in need of the services offered by public benefits programs while supplementing the needs of your loved one that public benefits programs do not cover.

Special Needs Planning Tools

Special needs planning is a discrete area of planning that has specific, individualized tools and planning objectives.  Most important is that comprehensive and thoughtful special needs planning takes into account the intended recipient's preferences and desires in the context of her or his family, community, and environment.  A comprehensive special needs planning representation with Mr. Henry's office will include:


Public Benefits Eligibility Assessment & Representation

Public benefits are a critical means of support and  assistance to special needs individuals.  Therefore, any special needs planning should include a review of public benefits programs that could enhance your loved one's life.   Some of those programs include:


Medicaid - A state administered federal program that provides health coverage to millions of Americans, including eligible low-income adults, children, pregnant women, elderly adults and people with disabilities.  Under the umbrella of Medicaid are Medicaid waiver programs like CLASS and HCS that permit a Medicaid recipient to receive community-based services--starting by requesting placement on respective program interest lists.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) -In Texas, Medicaid and SSI are linked, meaning that if someone is eligible for SSI he or she is also eligible for Medicaid.  SSI is an income supplement program administered for low-income disabled, blind, and aged, persons, created to meet basic needs like food, clothing, and shelter.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) - A program for individuals (or their family members) who have sufficient work quarters and have paid Social Security taxes such that they are "insured."  SSDI can be a critical transition planning opportunity for a special needs individual, in the event of the disability, retirement, or death of a parent. 

Special Needs Trusts

A Special Needs Trust (SNT) is designed to maximize public benefits eligibility to ensure a continuum of care throughout the lifetime of the beneficiary.  This trust involves careful planning and continued supervision to ensure that the trust terms stay in conformity with relevant laws and continue to meet the needs of the trust beneficiary.  Mr. Henry's representation in this area encompass trust formation, trust modification, and trust advising, including establishing court created trusts in civil, guardianship, and family law matters for adult disabled child support cases.

Letter of Intent

A letter of intent is a composite of information, preferences, providers, and other information concerning your loved one that can serve as a touchstone resource for relevant information about your loved one with special needs.  It also can serve as a vision board for future employment, social, and care plans, for your loved one and the family, and guide future providers and caregivers when there is a need for transitions in the provision of care.

Directives

Where a loved one who has special needs has the capacity, traditional planning techniques can be employed to ensure their wishes are followed and protected.  Directives are essential elements of any estate plan because they can ensure that your affairs can be managed in the event of disability, illness, or incapacity.  

Statutory Durable Power of Attorney- A power of attorney for financial matters can be essential in ensuring that the management of your affairs continues without undue delay or waste to your financial estate in the event you are unable to do so.  It is imperative that any one given this kind of delegation of decision making be known to you and trusted by you.  Further, because this document establishes a fiduciary relationship, certain rights and obligations attend it.  Knowing your rights as the person who has given the power of attorney and even how to revoke it can be essential in preserving your estate or remedying inappropriate uses of the authority granted.

Medical Power of Attorney- Delegating medical decisions to a family member or friend in the event of disability or incapacity can assist in the continuation of treatment and decision making in the provision of your healthcare.  

Living Will or "Directive to Physicians"- A living will directs physicians as to your wishes in the event of terminal conditions and life sustaining treatment options if you are unable to communicate your desires.

Designation of Guardian Before the Need Arises- In a duly prepared and signed writing, an individual may designate whom he or she may want to serve as their guardian, if a court determines that such appointment is needed.

Whether creating or modifying a system of support for a special needs loved one,  schedule a consultation with Special Needs Planning Attorney John B. Henry, III, to begin discussing options that may fit your planning goals and needs.  

An special needs planning consultation with the office of John B. Henry, III, Attorney at Law,  planning documents, and completion of the firm's client questionnaire that will be provided upon a scheduled consultation.

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