Chapter Advice To Families from The Arc
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Chapter Advice to Families Seeking to Develop a Special Needs Trust
Families need to know that a Special Needs Trust is a legal document that should be prepared by an attorney who is knowledgeable about issues affecting people with disabilities. Someone who is only certified to prepare legal documents and is not an attorney cannot give legal advice.
When seeking an attorney, chapters of The Arc are usually the best source of referrals. The Arc has a goot relationship with MetDesk (www.metdesk.com) or http://www.metlife.com/Applications/Corporate/WPS/CDA/PageGenerator/0,1674,P475,00.html
and their local representatives frequently have good working relationship with attorneys experienced in this area. In addition, the attorney should be very familiar with special needs trusts in relation to the Medicaid and SSI programs. Not all "special needs trusts" attorneys are familiar with the Medicaid and SSI issues and could, therefore, create problems for people who might need the support of those programs.
You are probably contacted regularly by families seeking to locate an attorney for future planning involving a special needs trust. You probably know attorneys that families have used and can recommend some. If not, you can advise families about what to look for in an attorney.
Families should look for an attorney who is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. This organization helps attorneys keep up with current issues and changes in the law. Families should also seek an attorney who practices in their own state, as states may have specific requirements for special needs trusts. Parents should also inquire about how much of an attorney's practice is involved with special needs planning. The attorney who spends little time on these trusts may be less likely to keep up with changes in this dynamic area of law.