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By: Sipi Gupta | January 23, 2020

Most of us think about taking care of our aging parents or spouse when they’re older, and not our kids. But long-term care of adults with disabilities is the next crisis facing Americans.  Ask any of the more than 39.8 million  Until that time, however, you will hear parents asking themselves: What happens when I am no longer able to care for my child?

 

Here at Gupta Law, parents of children with special needs are strongly urged to begin planning AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.  Special needs planning is a daunting task that has overwhelmed parents and clients for years.  And the Firm’s New Year’s gift to you is a breakdown of the steps and documents you need to best position your adult children with disabilities for lif...

By: Sipi Gupta | September 02, 2019

For more of the latest news and information, follow @sipiguptalaw on Facebook and Instagram and @sipigupta on LinkedIn.  Below is a sampling of recent posts.


Law Guides Public Use of Service Dogs

Businesses are required under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to permit access by service animals.


Making Medical Decisions for Someone Else

Making medical choices for another person is a weighty responsibility. Read suggested considerations when making such decisions.


Youth Nursing Homes for Children With Disabilities

Learn about the various placement and childcare options for children with profound disabilities.

By: Sipi Gupta | February 22, 2018

Imagine a holistic approach to creating more accessible spaces.   Check out this primer on Universal  Design, then read about the remarkable shift to a world with increased accessibility.

By: Sipi Gupta | May 25, 2017

Trustees of special needs trusts wear many hats. They act as investment manager, bookkeeper, distribution manager, benefits advocate, and financial planner. Often trustees are in constant communication with the beneficiary and the beneficiary’s caregivers regarding many aspects of the beneficiary’s life such as approving distributions for the purchase of a vehicle or even the purchase of a home.

This level of involvement can be confusing for beneficiaries and their families, who may be under the impression that the trustee has the decision-making power in all aspects of a beneficiary’s life. If a trustee can approve or reject the proposed purchase price of a home for the beneficiary, can’t they also decide where the beneficiary lives? In gen...

By: Sipi Gupta | May 16, 2017

I live in one state and my daughter lives in a group home in neighboring state.  Where should I establish a special needs trust for her benefit?

While the trust can probably be established in either state, your final choice of location may depend on where the trustee lives and what state provides Medicaid benefits for your daughter.  Regardless of where the trust is situated, if your daughter lives in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, please call us at 215-650-7017 to review the trust to make sure that it complies with local Medicaid rules.

By: Sipi Gupta | May 01, 2017

Yes, but be aware that a co-trustee can be held responsible for another co-trustee’s breach of a fiduciary duty. Thus, it is important that all co-trustees pay close attention to everything that is done in the administration of the trust. If there is any question or problem, it should be communicated to the other co-trustee or co-trustees immediately. As a general rule, where there are two or more co-trustees, all have to agree on all matters of trust administration. However, the trust document may create a different standard for agreement, such as majority rule. In order to minimize the chances of being held responsible for someone else’s poor judgment or breach of duty, a co-trustee should be sure to make a written record of any points of...

By: Sipi Gupta | April 30, 2017

Parents of students with disabilities may be rethinking their child’s educational plan after the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the case of a child with autism and attention deficit disorder whose parents took him out of public school.  

At issue in the case was the level of educational benefit that public schools must provide to students under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  The Act guarantees children with disabilities a “free appropriate public education,” but the level of progress a student must make in order for the education to be called “appropriate” has been unclear, leading to school districts across the country interpreting the meaning differently.

The case revolved around Colorado par...

By: Sipi Gupta | April 25, 2017

The Trump administration is planning to allocate billions of public education dollars to expand private school voucher programs, but vouchers may not be the best option for families with special needs children.


Vouchers allow parents to use public funds to pay for tuition at a private school of their choice, including religiously affiliated schools.  This may seem like a good solution for students with disabilities, especially those having trouble thriving in the public school setting, but parents who accept and use vouchers may be unwittingly giving up their child’s rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The Act guarantees children with disabilities a “free and appropriate public education” that meets thei...

By: Sipi Gupta | February 14, 2017

Some trust beneficiaries have trouble with walking or with feeding themselves. Others have no trouble with these activities, but their disability can severely cloud their judgment. For these beneficiaries, trusts must be carefully structured with close coordination between families, trustees, and caregivers.

Because the majority of psychiatric care now takes place in the community at less cost than the care provided in hospitals, the goal of the special needs trust should be to assist the beneficiary in obtaining community services tailored towards his specific mental illness. This process starts with the choice of trustee. It is strongly recommended that family members not serve as trustees, but instead move towards the background and away ...

By: Sipi Gupta | February 11, 2017

The Department of Defense now allows assignment of military Survivor Benefit Plans (SBP) to a valid d4A special needs trust for a dependent disabled child. Previously, military members and retirees may have been advised to NOT designate a child with a disability as the beneficiary under such a plan. The new law allows SBP payments to be paid to a self-settled trust without jeopardizing an individual’s SSI / Medicaid benefits. Any such assignment must be irrevocable in order to qualify.

More information is available at the Military OneSource Special Needs page.

By: Sipi Gupta | January 21, 2017

  • Make a Plan and Keep It Updated. Planning for your dependent’s future needs goes beyond weekly/daily medical treatments. Caregivers need to review beneficiary designations, apply for government benefits, prepare a Last Will and Testament, and carefully consider other planning techniques unique to each individual situation. Update your plan every 3-7 years to stay on top of changing laws and regulations.
  • Work With an Expert. Effective special needs planning requires a high degree of specialized knowledge and expertise. The same holds true for dealing with issues of medical insurance authorizations for specialized services and products such as physical therapy and medical equipment. Make sure your support team includes an experienced att...

By: Sipi Gupta | January 21, 2017

Divorce is never easy, but if a child or spouse with special needs is involved, there are special considerations. At the same time, family law attorneys aren't always familiar with how to best protect a spouse or child with special needs during a divorce.  Special needs planners can provide information to family law attorneys who may not understand the special needs planning vehicles that are available and the issues special issues families should take into consideration.


Because no two cases are alike, it is important to look at each case individually to ensure that a divorce does not leave the individual with special needs in an even worse position.  For example, if a court awards a spouse with special needs alimony, the income ...