Large Firm Service. Small Firm Attention.
A full-service Westchester County law firm addressing the needs of clients in Special Education Law and Elder Law.
At Littman Krooks, LLP, we take pride in offering a unique, client-centered approach to representing individuals and families confronted with difficult estate planning and special needs planning matters. Our compassionate team of attorneys understands that the best way to secure favorable results for our clients is to start by listening. Every client who walks through our doors has different priorities, and we see it as our job to discover what those priorities are and craft a solution that meets each of our client’s distinct needs. At our firm, we help families in Westchester County plan for their future by assisting them with a wide range of special needs planning and elder law matters.
Westchester County Estate Planning Attorneys Help Clients Effectively Plan for the Future
At Littman Krooks, we help clients plan for their future, as well as for the future of their families by catering custom solutions to the often complex estate planning issues they face. Estate planning is a natural extension of the financial planning process. Like financial planning, estate planning is focused on building and protecting wealth.
A will is the most basic component of an estate plan. A will is a legally binding declaration of someone’s plan for their property after they pass. If properly created, courts will follow the instructions contained in a will. However, when someone passes without a will, their property will be divided among family members according to the New York State intestate laws. Of course, these default rules are not likely to fit the unique needs of any single-family. Too often, this can lead to familial disputes. By creating a will, a person can have a say as to how their property will be distributed at the time of their passing, decreasing the likelihood of confusion or resentment and, ultimately, the chances of an estate dispute among family members.
Effective estate planning is not solely about reducing the likelihood of familial disputes. By creating an estate plan, families may also be able to reduce their estate’s tax burden, ensuring more assets end up in the hands of family members. Indeed, for some, the most important aspect of an estate plan is to avoid taxes such as gift tax, estate tax or the generation-skipping transfer tax.
Westchester County Special Needs Planning Lawyers Help Families Provide Support to Loved Ones Without Jeopardizing Needs-Based Benefits[accordions collapsible=”false”][accordion title=”Special Needs Trusts”]
- 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.
Every family has unique needs when it comes to planning for the future; however, this is especially true for families that include one or more children who live with a disability. Recent estimates suggest that it costs an estimated $1.4 to $2.4 million to raise a child who lives with a serious disability to the age of 18. Most children with disabilities qualify for needs-based benefits, such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income. However, because these programs are needs-based, there are strict income and asset limits.
For many families, it can be difficult to find a way to provide continued, meaningful support for loved ones experiencing disability without jeopardizing their crucial needs-based benefits. By working with a knowledgeable White Plains special needs planning advocate at Littman Krooks, families can put an effective plan into place that will ensure the long-term wellbeing of their loved one without sacrificing their eligibility for government benefits. For example, both special needs trusts (SNTs) or New York ABLE accounts can be effective special needs planning tools. While ABLE accounts and SNTs have many differences, each is a way for individuals who are living with a disability to save money for the future without jeopardizing their needs-based benefits.
Parents are accustomed to making decisions on behalf of their children. However, as a minor child living with a disability approaches the age of 18 or 21, there may be concerns about the child’s ability to live on their own, or make critical life decisions. A Westchester County special needs planning attorney can also help families with guardianship, as well as with matters involving transition planning.
Dedicated Special Education Advocates Working To Ensure Students in Westchester County Obtain the Education They Are Entitled To
The New York special education process can be overwhelming for parents as well as students. However, with the assistance of an experienced White Plains special education attorney at Littman Krooks, parents can rest assured that their child is in good hands.
Under state and federal law, all children – regardless of disability – are entitled to a free and appropriate public-school education. In this way, the law recognizes that not all children learn in the same way; what works for the majority of students may not work for a student living with a serious disability. Thus, individual education plans (IEP) are a critical component for many students’ education.
An IEP is a detailed plan that outlines the special education needs of a student, including special education instruction, services and supports. The IEP is created through a collaborative process by a team that includes parents, educators and administrators. Schools are legally obligated to refer students they believe may need special education services; however, parents can also refer children for an IEP evaluation. Anything included in an IEP must be provided by the school, including the need for any assistive technology.
Complications occasionally arise throughout the IEP process. For example, schools do not need to evaluate every student who is referred by a parent. Similarly, schools only need to provide the education, services and support that is outlined in the IEP. Overwhelmed schools may resist a parent’s urging that their child needs certain services. Schools may also claim that they are unable to comply with one or more components of the IEP. By working with a White Plains special education attorney, families can rest assured, knowing that they are doing everything they can to ensure their child is receiving the education they are legally entitled to.
Contact One of Our Elder Law or Special Needs Planning Lawyers Today
At Littman Krooks, LLP, we are dedicated to resolving your family’s needs. Our compassionate White Plains attorneys understand that the issues surrounding estate planning and special needs advocacy are critical to your family’s peace of mind. To meet your family’s unique needs, we have assembled a team of well-respected attorneys to work with you every step of the way. Many of our attorneys are regarded as authorities in their specific practice areas. Whether you hope to begin the process of planning your estate, or hope to set up a lifelong plan for a child with special needs, our skilled attorneys can help. To learn more, and to make an appointment with one of our White Plains attorneys, call 914-684-2100 today.