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Articles of Interest: Special Needs Planning

Special Needs Planning


Brochure on Guardianship

This brochure contains general information on the topic of guardianship. Click here to download the publication.


Legal Planning for Living with a Chronic Medical Condition

In 1900, most people died younger from communicable diseases and after relatively short illnesses. Today, we are more likely to die older from one or more chronic conditions and after an extended period of illness. The decisions involved with planning for disability associated with chronic conditions can be difficult to make. Recognizing that developing a plan is the goal and that plans can (and should) be revised over time may help you assume a proactive role when it comes to legal matters. Click here to read an article, written by Janna Dutton, Certified Elder Law Attorney, regarding this important topic.


Healthcare Communication Board for Medical, Physical, and Emotional Information

For people who are unable to speak, this tool will assist with communication. Click here to download the publication.


Transfer of Death Instrument

Illinois, as of January 1, 2012, provides an easy tool for transferring ownership of residential real estate at the death of the owner to another individual or to a trust, business, charity and other entities – the Transfer on Death Instrument or TODI. An owner of residential real estate may designate the future owner of the property in a written document which is signed by the owner and witnessed by 2 credible witnesses whose signatures along with the owner’s are notarized. The document must then be recorded before the owner’s death with the recorder of deeds in the county in which the real estate is located. Only an attorney or the owner of the real estate may prepare a TODI.

Click here to download PDF.


ABLE Accounts

“ABLE” Accounts are a recent creation of federal law designed for individuals with disabilities to allow them to have a tax-free savings account which does not affect eligibility for public benefit programs such as SSI and Medicaid. States must establish the ABLE Account Programs. The new Illinois ABLE Account program is administered by the Illinois Treasurer’s office.

An ABLE account may be owned by a person with disabilities who became disabled before reaching the age of 26. Funds held in ABLE accounts grow tax free and may be used for “qualified disability expenses”. Each person may have only one account in the nation. The maximum annual contribution to an ABLE Account is $14,000 from all sources, and contributions must be in the form of money. A designated representative who may be a guardian, agent under power of attorney for property, or a properly witnessed written designation, may act on behalf of the owner with disabilities. Click here to read more.

Read an article on this topic.


Special Needs Trusts

A Special Needs Trust can be an important tool for a disabled individual who is, or may become eligible, for Supplemental Security Income or Medicaid but has excess assets preventing eligibility. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is the Social Security program that grants income to people who are age 65 or older, blind or disabled with limited income and assets.

Click here for an article on the topic.