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Bernie Krooks is among the leading Elder Law Attorneys in the country and I have seen how he serves his clients with professionalism, unsurpassed knowledge and true empathy. As an attorney, I have worked with Bernie on a number of cases. I have seen first hand how he exceeds client expectations. Very impressive.

- S.M. March 4, 2017

I highly recommend Litman Krooks for special education needs and advocacy. Marion Walsh and Sandi Rosenbaum were able to help us secure the educational services that our child needed, and they did it with extremely little time to prepare. We were very impressed with their responsiveness and willingness to take our case with just a few days notice.

- S.M-C. February 21, 2018

Amy O'Hara, Esq, and her support team were first rate in addressing our estate planning needs. They are experts in the field, skilled and quite professional. They were very helpful to us.

- T.B. January 8, 2018

The professionals at Littman Krooks are top notch, smart, attentive, and effective. Our case against the school district for our daughter was resolved in a positive outcome within weeks. I would highly recommend Marion Walsh for all of your most complicated situations. She has great experience and knows the law!!!!

- T.N. March 2, 2018

Our family relied on the calm caring expertise of the Littman Krooks staff and attorneys to guide us through a difficult time. I have recommend the firm wholeheartedly to other families and will definitely use them again should the need arise.

- P.F. February 4, 2019

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New York Special Needs Planning Lawyer

It takes careful planning to provide properly for a loved one with a disability. Families with children with special needs have to be aware of financial planning tools like special needs trusts. They also must consider guardianship and transition planning, as well as providing for their loved one in their estate plan.

Special Needs Trust

Children and adults with disabilities often rely on public benefits, especially Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid. These programs are need-based, which means they have strict income and resource limits.

This can present a dilemma, as families naturally want to help provide their loved one with a secure future, but transferring certain resources to the individual will trigger ineligibility for vital benefits. Special needs trusts are one solution to this problem.

Special needs trusts, also known as supplemental needs trusts, allow you to set aside funds for an individual with a disability, without jeopardizing their eligibility for public benefits. As with other kinds of trusts the person creating the trust (who is known as the trustor or grantor) designates a trustee who controls distributions of money for the benefit of the beneficiary (the person with a disability). Because the money in the trust is not held in the name of the beneficiary, it does not count as a resource for SSI and Medicaid.

  • Funds in a special needs trust can only be used for certain supplemental needs, not for basic necessities.
  • Supplemental needs include travel, education, recreational and cultural experiences, and medical expenses not covered by Medicaid.
  • Basic necessities include groceries, rent or mortgage payments, renter’s or homeowner’s insurance, utilities, restaurant meals if on a regular basis, or cash given to the beneficiary.

In order to meet the requirements of government benefit programs, the funds in a special needs trust can only be used for certain supplemental needs, not for basic necessities such as food or housing. Trust funds can be used for things like travel, education, recreational and cultural experiences, and medical expenses not covered by Medicaid. Trust funds cannot be used for groceries, rent or mortgage payments, renter’s or homeowner’s insurance, utilities, restaurant meals if on a regular basis, or cash given to the beneficiary.

This type of trust can be a crucial tool to improve the life of a person with a disability. Creating a special needs trust is complicated, and there are many detailed rules that must be followed, so consulting with a special needs planning attorney is essential.

How a Special Needs Planning Attorney Can Help

Planning for your child’s future can seem overwhelming but you do not need to face these tasks alone.

In fact, seeking the assistance of an attorney is the best approach. When you consult with Littman Krooks special needs planning attorneys, we will take the time to get to know your child’s needs and your family’s goals for the future. We will make sure you understand your options to achieve those goals, and help you put the necessary tools in place. We look forward to helping you build a secure foundation for your child’s future.

Special Needs Alliance Member

The Special Needs Alliance is a national organization comprised of attorneys dedicated to the practice of special needs, guardianship, disability and public benefits law. The Special Needs Alliance is an invitation-only organization whose membership is based on a combination of relevant legal experience in the disability and elder law fields, direct family experience with disabilities, active participation with national, state and local disability advocacy organizations, and professional reputation. Littman Krooks is the only firm in the Westchester, Hudson Valley and New York City area with Special Needs Alliance members.

Call A Special Needs Planning Attorney Today: (914) 684-2100

Littman Krooks LLP combines extensive legal knowledge and expertise with individual attention to your needs. Over 25 years, we have brought astute, honest counsel and strong, thorough representation to every one of our clients.

Bernard A. Krooks
J.D., CPA, LLM (in taxation), CELA®, AEP® (Distinguished), Founding Partner
Bernie is a founding partner of Littman Krooks and Chair of its Elder Law
and Special Needs Department. He is a nationally-recognized expert in all aspects of elder law and special needs planning.
Amy C. O'Hara
Amy focuses her practice on special needs planning, trusts and estates, personal injury settlement consulting, and elder law.
Elizabeth Valentin
Elizabeth's practice is focused in elder law, guardianship, trusts and estates, special needs planning and asset protection.

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Littman Krooks LLP

New York City Office
655 Third Avenue,
20th Floor
New York, NY 10017
(212) 490-2020 Phone
(212) 490-2990 Fax


Westchester County
399 Knollwood Road
White Plains, NY 10603
(914) 684-2100 Phone
(914) 684-9865 Fax



This article does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon. If you need legal advice concerning this or any other topic please contact our offices to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys at 914-684-2100 or 212-490-2020.