Do You Need to Change Your Future Planning Due to the New 2018 Tax Laws?

Do You Need to Change Your Future Planning Due to the New 2018 Tax Laws?

In January 2018, several new tax laws went into effect that could change your future planning. You should check in with the lawyer who prepared your estate plan and any documents for your child with special needs to see if …
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Top 5 Reasons to Start Future Planning Today

Top 5 Reasons to Start Future Planning Today

If you are hesitant about starting your future planning now, here are five reasons not to delay. Even if you have just learned that your child has special needs, it is never too early to make a plan. There’s No …
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Future Planning for an Independent Adult with Special Needs

Future Planning for an Independent Adult with Special Needs

If your family includes an independent adult with special needs, you should do some future planning to ensure your child or other relative has everything he or she needs to continue living independently. Here are a few suggestions and options …
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The Gift Tax and Special Needs Trusts

The Gift Tax and Special Needs Trusts

When you give money to a special needs trust, you may worry that you or the trust will owe the IRS money for the gift when Tax Day rolls around. Both assessing the gift tax and taxation of an SNT …
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Your Relative with Special Needs Plans to Get Married. What Next?

Your Relative with Special Needs Plans to Get Married. What Next?

When you learn that your relative with special needs plans to get married, you probably have many questions about the future. Importantly, you should be concerned about whether your family member can continue to receive government benefits after marriage. If …
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Can You Leave Life Insurance Proceeds to a Relative with Special Needs?

Can You Leave Life Insurance Proceeds to a Relative with Special Needs?

You may be interested in purchasing life insurance as a way to fund your child with special needs’ future expenses. It’s fine to get a policy as long as you can afford it. But do not make the common mistake …
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How to Involve Your Child with Special Needs in Future Planning

How to Involve Your Child with Special Needs in Future Planning

When you first start future planning for your child with special needs, he or she might be too young to get involved in the many decisions you have to make. As time goes by, your child may express strong preferences …
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What You Need to Know Before Your Child with Special Needs Turns 18

What You Need to Know Before Your Child with Special Needs Turns 18

Don’t wait until your child with special needs turns age 18 to begin planning. Becoming a legal adult leads to many changes in available benefits, needs, and your ability to act on your child’s behalf. Here are just a few …
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Is Long-Term Care Insurance Worth It?

Is Long-Term Care Insurance Worth It?

You may have heard about buying long-term care insurance.  This insurance helps cover the costs of a care facility outside the home or even nursing care inside of your home. There are a few pros and cons of long-term care …
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Just Moved to Illinois with Your Child with Special Needs? What You Need to Know

Just Moved to Illinois with Your Child with Special Needs? What You Need to Know

If you have just moved to Illinois and have a child with special needs, you need to take action now to ensure your child gets vital services. You also need to make sure that your child and your family are …
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How Do SNTs Affect Beneficiaries with Special Needs’ Eligibility for Subsidized Housing?

How Do SNTs Affect Beneficiaries with Special Needs’ Eligibility for Subsidized Housing?

The federal and state governments subsidize some housing under programs such as “Section 8” for people with special needs. Some people who want to apply for Section 8 have special needs trusts (SNTs) that benefit them. If you are considering …
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Income Taxation of Special Needs Trusts, Part 2

Income Taxation of Special Needs Trusts, Part 2

In your future planning for your child with special needs, remember to consider income taxation of special needs trusts, including Qualified Disability Trusts (QDTs). If you set up a special needs trust (“SNT”) with another law firm, the attorneys may …
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Trusts: The Basics

Trusts: The Basics

People just beginning their future planning may hear many terms thrown around by their relatives and attorneys: trust, beneficiary, settlor, and more. For those unfamiliar with trusts, the many different words used to describe them can be quite confusing. This …
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What Is a Guardian Ad Litem?

What Is a Guardian Ad Litem?

A guardian ad litem, or guardian “for the suit”, can be appointed by the court before a guardianship hearing to act in the guardianship proceeding. The court can appoint a guardian ad litem to report to the judge about the …
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When You Have No Estate Plan: Part 2

When You Have No Estate Plan: Part 2

Not having an estate plan could lead to serious consequences for your family in your absence. Future planning not only helps you move forward if you have a serious illness or if you are in need of money in the …
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When You Have No Estate Plan: Part 1

When You Have No Estate Plan: Part 1

When you have no estate plan, life changes could lead to personal and financial disaster. Future planning is all about planning now to save time, trouble, stress, and money in the future. If you are on the fence about creating …
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Picking the Right Professionals for Your Trust

Picking the Right Professionals for Your Trust

Trustees of special needs trusts often need to pick professionals to assist with trust management and oversight. With so many licensed professionals to choose from, how does a careful trustee find the “right” professionals? Consider a few basic guidelines. How …
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Trustee Fiduciary Duties, Part 2

Trustee Fiduciary Duties, Part 2

Trustees have fiduciary duties to beneficiaries of trusts that they oversee. The duty to account and the duty to invest and manage trust assets prudently are two very important fiduciary duties that are difficult for many family member trustees to …
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Going to Court for the Guardianship Hearing

Going to Court for the Guardianship Hearing

When you seek a guardianship for a person with special needs, you must follow many of the same formalities as in a court case. Obtaining a guardianship is a serious matter because it strips the person with special needs of …
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Can a Guardian or Trustee File a Lawsuit on Behalf of an Individual with Special Needs?

Can a Guardian or Trustee File a Lawsuit on Behalf of an Individual with Special Needs?

An individual with special needs may need a guardian or trustee to file a lawsuit on his behalf. If it makes sense to file a lawsuit under the circumstances, the individual with special needs or relatives will need to determine …
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My Child was Selected from the PUNS List

From the Arc of Illinois: So, You Received a Letter that Your Child was Selected from the PUNS List? If you receive a letter informing you that your child has been selected to apply for services, IMMEDIATELY contact your Independent …
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Trustee Fiduciary Duties, Part 1

Trustee Fiduciary Duties, Part 1

Trustees have fiduciary duties in administering trusts. These duties arise from state law, including statutes and court cases. Fiduciary duties help ensure that a trustee best manages assets for the benefit of the trust’s beneficiaries. The duty of care requires trustees to …
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The Legal Procedure for Seeking Guardianship

The Legal Procedure for Seeking Guardianship

The legal procedure for seeking guardianship of an adult with special needs in Illinois involves petitioning the court for an order appointing a guardian. Petitioners must follow court procedure exactly to receive the order. Either an “interested person” such as …
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What Is the Difference Between Medicaid and Medicare?

What Is the Difference Between Medicaid and Medicare?

Despite their similar-sounding names, Medicaid and Medicare are very different programs. To understand how these programs could factor into your future planning for someone with special needs, learn about Medicaid and Medicare functions and eligibility requirements. Medicaid Medicaid assists people of all …
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What Is the Difference Between SSDI and SSI?

What Is the Difference Between SSDI and SSI?

Special needs future planning should include guidance in applying for and determining how to remain eligible for government benefits such as SSDI and SSI. If this is your first time learning about the various benefits that are available, you may …
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Why Is Medicare Deducting Premiums from My SSDI Check, and Can the Deductions Be Avoided?

I Am Ineligible for Medicaid. What Next?

Medicare is a federal government health insurance program covering costs such as hospital charges, home health care, doctor fees, lab costs, outpatient care, and prescription drug coverage. Recipients pay premiums, deductibles, and coinsurance. For Medicare recipients who cannot afford all of …
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Tax Benefits of a Qualified Disability Trust

Tax Benefits of a Qualified Disability Trust

The IRS classifies some special needs trusts as Qualified Disability Trusts, and these trusts have certain tax benefits . QDTs may claim a personal exemption on their federal income tax returns. Please note, as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs …
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Income Taxation of Special Needs Trusts, Part 1

Income Taxation of Special Needs Trusts, Part 1

In your future planning for your child with special needs, remember to consider income taxation of special needs trusts. If you set up a special needs trust (“SNT”) with another law firm, the attorneys may not have discussed how you …
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What Is a Resource? What Is Countable? Your Questions about SSI Eligibility Answered

What Is a Resource? What Is Countable? Your Questions about SSI Eligibility Answered

Evaluating your countable resources is key to determining your SSI eligibility. Making this evaluation, however, can be complicated and confusing. Start by determining which items owned by you or owned by the planned SSI recipient are “resources”. A “resource” for …
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Qualifying for Federal Subsidized Housing

Qualifying for Federal Subsidized Housing

Qualifying for federal subsidized housing can be an important step toward living independently for individuals with special needs. The federal government, through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), funds public housing for eligible people with special needs. This …
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Payments from Non-Special Needs Trusts to People with Special Needs

Payments from Non-Special Needs Trusts to People with Special Needs

For people with special needs, receiving a payment from a non-special needs trust may have significant consequences. In fact, any unexpected payments can jeopardize a person with special needs’ eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, Medicaid, and other government …
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New Illinois PAC Aims to Help People with Special Needs

New Illinois PAC Aims to Help People with Special Needs

Inclusion PAC, a new political action committee, aims to help people with special needs in Illinois. Rubin Law is excited to highlight Inclusion PAC ’s formation because it is the first PAC in Illinois and one of the first in the nation …
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Press Release: Brian N. Rubin Elected President of Special Needs Alliance

Special Needs Alliance

October 31, 2017 (Tucson, Arizona) — Brian N. Rubin, Rubin Law, A Professional Corporation , with offices in Chicago, Skokie, and Buffalo Grove, Illinois, whose law practice focuses exclusively on “special needs legal and future planning,”  has been elected president of the Special Needs Alliance (SNA) .  SNA is a …
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Short-Term Guardian Declarations

Short-Term Guardian Declarations

A guardian of a person with special needs who will be unavailable for a short period of time should execute a short-term guardian declaration. The declaration has the effect of appointing a temporary guardian for the ward (the person with …
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Medical Directives: Which Ones Do You Need?

Medical Directives - Which Ones Do You Need?

Signing medical directives can be especially important for people with special needs and their family members because it may be more difficult for them to communicate their treatment wishes to doctors. The terms medical directive, power of attorney, and end-of-life …
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HIPAA and Adults with Special Needs

HIPAA and Adults with Special Needs

Families of adults with special needs should become familiar with how HIPAA affects medical privacy and decision-making. HIPAA is an acronym that stands for “Health Information Portability and Accountability Act”, a federal law that governs health information privacy and security. For …
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Different Definitions of “Special Needs” Under the Law

Different Definitions of -Special Needs- Under the Law

Different federal and state laws provide very different definitions of the terms “disability” or “special needs”. You may be surprised to learn that many individuals whom their families, doctors, or communities consider to have special needs are not protected by …
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How Much Money Do You Need to Fund a Special Needs Trust?

How Much Money Do You Need to Fund a Special Needs Trust?

If you are thinking about forming a special needs trust, you may be wondering how much money you need to fund it. In truth, there is no way to know how much your child will need for the rest of …
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What Is the Illinois Health Care Surrogate Act?

What Is the Illinois Health Care Surrogate Act?

For people with special needs and their families, the Illinois Health Care Surrogate Act provides much-needed peace of mind about making medical decisions if they have not yet started the future planning process. The Health Care Surrogate Act allows family members or friends to make …
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Special Needs Future Planning When Future Health Care Funding Is Uncertain

Special Needs Future Planning When Future Health Care Funding Is Uncertain

Parents of children with special needs, advocates, and care providers have followed recent news about health care funding with worry , because health care funding proposals would cut Medicaid funding by 25 percent or more. While lawmakers in Washington have not passed …
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Can a Person with Special Needs Under a Guardianship Still Vote?

Can a Person with Special Needs Under a Guardianship Still Vote?

In the United States, voting is one of the most important rights afforded to citizens. It may surprise you to learn that not every free citizen can actually exercise that right. Many people with special needs cannot vote because they …
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How Can I Use Insurance to Protect My Child with Special Needs’ Future?

How Can I Use Insurance to Protect My Child with Special Needs’ Future?

Protecting the future of your child with special needs requires a many-faceted approach, and insurance is only a part of it. Have you considered the role that insurance will play in your future plan? If not, now is the time …
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Expenditures from a Special Needs Trust

Expenditures from a Special Needs Trust

Families of individuals with special needs use special needs trusts to save for future expenses and protect eligibility for government benefits. Eventually, you or, in the case of 3rd party special needs trusts more likely the successor trustees, will need …
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Can a Person with Special Needs Keep His Driver’s License Even If He Has a Guardian?

Can a Person with Special Needs Keep His Driver's License Even If He Has a Guardian?

Maintaining independence and stability for people with special needs strongly motivates many decisions about their lives, including the most appropriate form of transportation. People who have special needs and their families should be aware that guardianships can significantly change their …
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Your Non-Special Needs Children May Need Estate Plans Too

Your Non-Special Needs Children May Need Estate Plans Too

If you are working on your family’s estate plan to protect your child with special needs, be aware that your other children may need to do some future planning too. As described in a previous blog article on our website, leaving your estate …
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What Is a Letter of Intent?

What Is a Letter of Intent?

Advocates for people with special needs often talk about writing a “letter of intent” for your family member’s care. What exactly is a letter of intent? What should you include in your letter? Here are a few suggestions. Every letter …
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Estate Planning for Your Extended Family

Estate Planning for Your Extended Family

When estate planning for your family’s future, don’t forget that extended family members may need to change their plans too if they want to help your child with special needs. This article described some common situations that arise when well-meaning relatives …
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Risks of Leaving Your Estate to Your Special Needs Child’s Sibling

Risks of Leaving Your Estate to Your Special Needs Child's Sibling

When making your estate plan, be aware that there are substantial risks to leaving your estate to the sibling of your child with special needs. Sometimes, doing so seems like the least complicated solution – the sibling can use funds …
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Post-22 Programs Available in Illinois

Post-22 Programs Available in Illinois

Individuals with special needs living in Illinois qualify for a number of educational services and assistance until they turn age 22. As families of individuals with special needs know, these needs do not stop at age 22, but many may …
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Learn About Pooled Special Needs Trusts

Learn About Pooled Special Needs Trusts

Pooled special needs trusts differ greatly from individual special needs trusts and can be a great way to gain the benefits of an SNT while reducing some of the practical downsides. Both pooled and individual SNTs have the same goal …
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Types of Illinois Adult Guardianships

Illinois law permits several different types of adult guardianships. Guardianships protect people with special needs by allowing guardians to make financial, legal, and logistical decisions for them. Guardianships are supervised by the probate court, which appoints a guardian, oversees administration of …
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Who Can Make Decisions for a Minor Child with Special Needs?

Who Can Make Decisions for a Minor Child with Special Needs

If you are in the position of making decisions for a minor with special needs, you may wonder who besides you can make these often-difficult decisions. Generally, parents are the only ones who can decide things for their children. If …
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Pros and Cons of Using an Institutional Trustee

Pros and Cons of Using an Institutional Trustee

When forming a special needs trust for your child with special needs, you may wonder whether using an institutional trustee is a good idea. “Institutional trustee”, also called a corporate trustee, refers to a bank or trust company that oversees …
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What Is a Power of Attorney?

What Is a Power of Attorney

A power of attorney ensures that someone will be there to make decisions for a person when he is no longer able to make them for himself. It is a legal document specifying that a certain person or persons can …
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Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts: How They Work

Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts How They Work

Irrevocable life insurance trusts (“ILIT”) can be one part of future planning for individuals with special needs. Like other future planning methods, people planning to use an ILIT as part of their plan should learn about important provisions to include …
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How a Veteran Can Leave His Military Pension to a Special Needs Trust

How a Veteran Can Leave His Military Pension to a Special Needs Trust

Under recent changes to military pension plan rules, you can leave your pension to a special needs trust for the benefit of a child with special needs. Military members may choose the Survivor Benefit Plan ( SBP ) option, as part …
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Our Personal Experience Drives Our Legal Practice

Our Personal Experience Drives Our Legal Practice

When our firm’s founder Brian Rubin began practicing special needs future planning, he drew on his personal experience. Brian’s son Mitchell has autism and other diagnosed special needs. He was born in 1981, and Brian has focused solely on helping …
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Why Is Estate Planning for People with Special Needs Different?

Why Is Estate Planning for People with Special Needs Different

There are a number of reasons why estate planning for people with special needs can be different than planning for people who do not have special needs. Understanding these reasons will help you during the initial planning process and beyond. …
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Why Our Firm Only Practices in the Area of Special Needs Planning

Why Our Firm Only Practices in the Area of Special Needs Planning

From our personal experience, we know that families who are planning for their special needs relatives’ futures need strong advocates to advise them. Brian Rubin began to dedicate his legal practice to special needs planning after the birth of his …
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When should I set up and fund my child’s special needs trust?

When should I set up and fund my child’s special needs trust?

A special needs trust can be the most important savings account your child with special needs will ever have. It should be set up as soon as you know that your child has special needs, and funded through ways that …
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Special provisions needed in your will, living trust and power of attorney, when you have a child with special needs

Special provisions needed in your will, living trust and power of attorney, when you have a child with special needs

If you have children, you should have an estate plan in place. This is especially true for parents of a child with special needs. An estate plan that includes a will, living trust, powers of attorney and other provisions can …
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Alternatives to adult guardianship

Alternatives to adult guardianship

Families of a child with special needs must often consider adult guardianship. It’s defined as a legal proceeding in which someone, often a parent, sibling or other family member, asks the Illinois court to find that a person is unable …
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What a personal injury attorney needs to know about representing a child or adult with special needs

What a personal injury attorney needs to know about representing a child or adult with special needs

Personal injury attorneys should work very closely and carefully with their clients who have a child or adult child with special needs to ensure a plan is put into place that benefits the person for the rest of their lives. …
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Can I leave my teacher’s TRS pension to my child with special needs?

Can I leave my teachers TRS pension to my child with special needs

Illinois lawmakers set up the Teachers’ Retirement System, or TRS, in 1939. It is a pension program designed to provide retirement annuities, disability benefits and survivor benefits for men and women who work in the state’s public schools. If you …
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Should I ask one of my other children to be the trustee for my child with special needs?

Should I ask one of my other children to be the trustee for my child with special needs

Choosing a trustee to oversee a trust for your child with special needs can be difficult. Just as the name implies, you should look for someone you can trust. That’s why many parents opt to ask another adult child to …
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Can I leave my SURS pension to my child with special needs?

Can I leave my SURS pension to my child with special needs

No parents of a child with special needs want their son or daughter to be forced to rely solely on public assistance programs like Social Security disability, Supplemental Security and Medicaid to survive. So, they often look at their options …
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How do I put money into my child’s special needs trust?

How do I put money into my childs special needs trust

A third party special needs trust is an important tool in long-term planning for a child with special needs. A special needs trust can help parents plan and maintain the child’s financial stability while ensuring his or her long-term eligibility …
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Choosing a residential program for your child with special needs

Choosing a residential program for your child with special needs

      Parents of a child with special needs share a very big fear: what will happen after they are gone.  Planning for that future is not just legal and financial it is also about creating the customized supports …
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My child with special needs just received a settlement from a lawsuit. What do I do now?

Adults with special needs often receive SSI and Medicaid to help cover the costs of their living and medical expenses. Some of them have been disabled as a result of a personal injury or medical malpractice. Either way, a settlement …
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Special needs trusts and how to fund them

A special needs trust is likely the best way to plan for your child’s future. It can help pay for things not covered by government assistance, such as transportation, education, computer equipment and medical expenses that public benefits do not …
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What government benefits can my child with special needs qualify for and when?

Raising a child with special needs is challenging. Many families seek public assistance as a way to help cover the living expenses and health care costs associated with the child’s disability. Once a child reaches the age of 18, he …
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Can I leave my military pension to my child with special needs?

The federal government offers the men and women who make up the U.S. armed forces an insurance plan that covers retirement income that is lost when the service member dies. Called the Survivor Benefit Plan, the program gives widowed military …
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When parents of a child with special needs divorce

A number of studies suggest that the divorce rate is much higher among couples who have a child with special needs compared to those who do not. The personal and financial challenges that come with having a child with special …
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What is the Illinois Health Surrogate Act and how does it apply to my child with special needs?

Everyone is considered a legal adult as of their 18th birthday. That includes children with special needs, no matter how severe or debilitating their disabilities might be. For parents, the right to make health decisions for their children with special …
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What are the different types of special needs trusts and how can they benefit my child with special needs?

Special needs trusts are an important part of estate planning for parents of a child with special needs. They offer benefits unique to a child with special needs that carry on through his or her lifetime. However, there are different …
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The grandparents of my child with special needs left him an inheritance. What do we do?

The grandparents of my child with special needs left him an inheritance. What do we do

Grandparents love their grandchildren and want to help provide for them. Many well-meaning grandparents leave their grandsons and granddaughters a small inheritance in their wills. But however good the intention, even a tiny inheritance can potentially cause hardship for a …
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What will happen to my child with special needs when I die?

What will happen to my child with special needs when I die

Preparing for the future is so important — especially for parents of a child with special needs. Every parent of a child with special needs must consider the possibility that he or she may die or become incapacitated and unable …
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Who is Mitchell Rubin?

Brian Rubin’s son and Benjamin Rubin’s brother, Mitch, who has autism among other diagnosed special needs, lives in a group home in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. He works in the community with a job coach during the week. Mitch …
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