Vincent J. Russo, special guest on WFAS Radio (1230AM), discusses The Theresa Foundation.
It may sound like a no brainer but I can not tell you how many times clients have not updated their beneficiary designations. This can create a serious problem for the child with special needs. These assets pass outside of a Will or Trust that you may have set up.
Supplemental Needs Trusts
The first step in any estate plan is to have Will and/or Trust which provide for the proper disposition of your assets upon your demise. For parents who have a child with special needs, it is highly recommended that their estate plan provide for a Supplemental Needs Trust (SNT). This Trust will be managed and administered by a Trustee for the benefit of your child with special needs while maximizing government benefits.
Our time with our daughter, Theresa, was precious.
As it should be for all parents.
Let’s circle back to my first article in this four-part series, What Every Parent Who Has A Child with Special Needs Should Know About Estate Planning – the flood of emotions, the questions.
You know the meaning of “milestones” – first birthday, becoming a teenager, entering adulthood. Now, your “child” has turned 21. You may not be legally responsible for your child, however “legal” responsibility was never your motivation in the first place. Yes, adulthood is here, however the care required for your special needs child continues. You are not alone in your journey. Continued planning is the key.
New York State Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg (left) was honored recently with the 2010 Theresa Award for his outstanding contributions to persons with special needs, presented by Robert Russo (right) member of the Board of Directors of the Theresa Foundation. Harvey Weisenberg has represented Long Beach in the New York State Assembly since 1989. For over 20 years, he has been dedicated to removing barriers, improving access and enhancing the quality of life for all people with physical and mental challenges.
Since your eyes met you have spent each and every moment loving, caring for, guiding, educating and protecting your child with special needs. As a parent of a child with special needs, you have been making personal, financial and health care decisions for them since birth.
Regardless of your child’s age or special need, as a parent you want nothing more than to make sure you are doing everything to love, nurture, protect and provide for your child. From the moment your eyes first meet, you experience a flood of emotions – hope, love, fear – emotions that envelop your every thought. You wonder, “Will I make the right decisions?” “Am I prepared for this life-long journey?” and “Who will care for my child if I am no longer here?” Where do you begin? You develop a plan.
Every child has needs – a need to be loved, encouraged and cared for. This is probably the most joyful and daunting of experiences a parent will ever know. Unfortunately, a parent handbook is not one of the items included in a “goodie bag” once you leave the hospital after the birth of your child. Every child is special – that first birthday, school step-up ceremony and of course, the cross-over from pre- to teenage years
The Family Health Care Decisions Act became New York Law on March 16, 2010.
The new law covers New York residents (other than the developmentally disabled and the mentally retarded who are covered under a different statute) who lack the capacity to make health care and end of life decisions for themselves, even if such individuals previously had capacity but never expressed their wishes in a health care proxy or living will. This new law was 17 years in the making.
In part I, the general principals of special needs trust distributions were discussed, as well as in-kind support and maintenance rules, referred to as ISM. Now, in part II, some of the most common requests for distributions will be discussed.
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