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Why you should choose

KLF

special needs planning mission statement

Kaeser Law Firm is committed to providing individualized planning services and advice tailored to the needs of each client. KLF supports families and individuals across all asset levels and strives to provide peace of mind by designing a cost effective strategy to preserve assets. KLF will guide you through the process and provide you with the knowledge and perspective unique to your family’s circumstances that is necessary for you to make informed decisions for your loved one’s future.

a special needs attorney to create special needs trusts

Every family faces challenges when addressing their long-term needs. However, this is especially true if you have a child on the autistic spectrum or with other special needs that may be unable to work or live independently. Providing for the needs of a disabled child can be the source of significant financial and emotional stress. But, once you take the time to plan for the care of your loved one’s future, parents can experience peace of mind and a feeling of relief. Special Need Trusts and the various specialized tools used by KLF play a critical role in planning for the financial future of your child with disabilities.

Special Needs Trusts are designed to pay for items or services and other quality-of-life experiences that are not covered by public funds.

A Special Needs Trust, also known as a Supplemental Needs Trust, allows property such as gifts, lawsuit settlements, or other funds, to be held for your disabled child without making your loved one ineligible for public benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid (MediCal), CalFresh and other means tested benefits. The Special Needs Trust allows you to properly transfer savings to your child without placing his or her ability to receive government benefits at risk. Special Needs Trusts are designed to pay for items or services that are not covered by public funds like education, recreation, counseling, furniture, professional fees, computer equipment, transportation, and medical attention beyond the simple necessities of life. Through this trust, friends and family can also make gifts of money to contribute to the financial well-being of your loved one. If the trust is sufficiently funded, your loved one can receive spending money to use for quality-of-life enhancing expenses.  Setting aside funds in a properly written Special Needs Trust will enable your loved one to have funds to supplement, but not supplant public benefits.  Even if you or your family have superior assets. a Special Needs Trust can protect the assets necessary for your disabled child’s future from potential creditors.

klf’s legal tool box

While Special Needs Trusts can be very useful and varied, it is just one tool in the KLF tool box:

  • POWERS OF ATTORNEY

    What happens if you or a loved one is unable to make crucial financial decisions because of illness or the lack of mental capacity to do so? A Power of Attorney is a written document in which your loved one over the age of 18, with proper mental capacity at the time of signing, can designate another person the legal authority to act on their behalf. This authority can be general authority to act broadly on their behalf or limited to a particular asset, a particular transaction, or a particular period of time. A “durable” power of attorney remains in place even after your loved one loses the mental capacity they once had when the power of attorney was created. Anyone who is age eighteen (18) or over should prepare and execute this inexpensive document, but this is especially important for people with disabilities.

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  • ADVANCE HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVE

    Who will have authority to make healthcare decisions for your special needs loved one? What if you are ever unable to do so? California recognizes the fundamental right of competent adults to make voluntary, informed choices to accept or reject medical or surgical treatment and to choose from among alternative courses of treatment. As soon as a child turns 18, parents legally lose decision making capacity. Parents should have their “adult” child execute an Advance Health Care Directive naming you as their agent with clearly detailed instructions what will occur if you are ever unable to act in that capacity. When your adult disabled loved one loses decision making capacity and can no longer participate actively in making their own health care decisions an Advance Directive provides a method by which one can plan ahead. An Advance Health Care Directive can provide specific instruction as to the types of treatment or care to be provided or withheld. KLF will work with you to craft a personalized Advance Directive that would reflect your family’s wishes, concerns, and your family’s values. Prior to the legislative creation of the Advance Directive, Californians signed Durable Powers of Attorney for Health Care. If you only have the latter document in place, it should be updated. It is generally a good idea for anyone who is age eighteen (18) or over to prepare and execute this inexpensive document, but this is especially important regarding adults with disabilities.

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  • CONSERVATORSHIP/GUARDIANSHIP

    In California, a legal guardianship for an adult is called a conservatorship. KLF believes every adult should retain the right to exercise their own judgment even if certain decisions may seem disagreeable to you or others. For disabled individuals who have the capacity to sign a Power of Attorney and an Advance Health Care Directive and who have a functional family or support group, a Conservatorship should not be necessary. There are a variety of alternatives to Conservatorship, however, KLF does acknowledge that there are limited situations where a Power of Attorney or other less restrictive options may be insufficient or otherwise inappropriate due to mental capacity, and a Conservatorship becomes necessary. Every person is unique, and the need for a Conservatorship should be carefully thought out and discussed with your attorney.

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  • CalABLE ACCOUNT

    CalABLE is a new program that allows people with disabilities to establish a tax-advantaged savings account and save up to $14,000 per year and up to $100,000 in total without losing vital public benefits, such as supplemental security income (SSI). Earnings in these accounts are not subject to federal income tax or California state income tax, so long as the earnings are spent on qualified expenses. CalABLE began operations July 1, 2016 and is anticipated to open for business in October 2017. To open a CalABLE account, an individual must have become disabled, according to the Social Security definition, before age 26. Individuals may have only one ABLE account and the funds may be used for expenses such as housing, education, transportation, health care and assistive technology. KLF can help set up your CalABLE account and advise you regarding how such an account will best fit into your family’s special needs planning.

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