[This article was originally published on September 26, 2006. The links were updated on June 20, 2018.]
A new Web site has been launched to help families of children with special needs preserve medical and other benefits and plan for the time when the parents or others will no longer be there as caregivers.
"Special needs" law deals with the financial and care needs of individuals with physical or cognitive challenges. Many of these individuals are the middle-aged children of aging Americans. Without proper planning, the responsibility for care will eventually fall on the child's siblings, other family members, and the community. Moreover, improper estate planning can rob a special needs child of vital benefits and medical coverage.
This is where Special Needs Answers comes in. The new site is modeled on the proven concept behind ElderLawAnswers -- that the combination of an informed consumer and a qualified attorney produces the best legal results for clients. Through information, newsletters and a growing roster of member attorneys, Special Needs Answers will help the families of children with special needs understand their planning choices and put them in touch with attorneys who can help them secure their loved ones' futures.
All attorneys listed on the Special Needs Answers site are members of the Academy of Special Needs Planners (ASNP), a national member organization of attorneys who are dedicated to improving the lives of people with special needs by helping them and their families plan for the future. (Attorneys interested in joining the Academy click here.)
Special Needs Answers was created by three pioneers in the area of special needs planning: Harry S. Margolis, ElderLawAnswers' founder and president; Vincent J. Russo, a founding member and past president of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys; and Diedre Wachbrit, a leading California estate planning attorney.
"[Special needs planning] is a growing area for a variety of reasons," said Margolis. "In previous generations, having a disability meant a shorter life span, but that's not true any more. And there are a lot more older clients who are taking care of children with special needs. So ultimately, the question comes up -- 'What plans do you have in place for them?'"
To visit the Special Needs Answers Web site, click here.
For more information on Disability Planning, click here.