Category Archives: Special Needs

Moving An Out of State Guardianship To Massachusetts

Here is a scenario that happens everyday: Sue Jones lives with her daughter Mary Jones in Georgia. Mary has intellectual disabilities and Sue was appointed as her guardian by a court in Virginia. Sue and Mary move to Massachusetts. Sue visits with an attorney to make sure everything is in order and asks “does my guardianship remain in effect in Massachusetts?”  And of course the lawyer answers “it depends.”

A guardianship gives the guardian the authority to make health care and living situation for the ward or “incapacitated person” as they are now called in Massachusetts.  This means that usually the people who will be asking about the guardianship and wanting to see the papers are hospitals, housing entities, doctor’s offices and the like. They will usually accept the guardianship and move on with things.

But sometimes a Massachusetts Court needs to get involved. This might happen because a guardian needs to be replaced, the authority of the guardian needs to be expanded or some medical provider has refused to honor the out of state guardianship.  If the Court does get involved, they will require that the guardian start from scratch and obtain a Massachusetts guardianship, complete with medical certificates, petitions, notice to interested parties and a short hearing to have the guardianship formalized. (Some courts will require that you get a new guardianship even if you just move from county to county in Massachusetts. This seems completely nonsensical to me and is thankfully not an issue that my clients have run into.)

Getting a guardianship in Massachusetts can take some time, so if you have recently moved here you may want to think about obtaining guardianship in Massachusetts before you run into an obstacle requiring you to do so.

When You Are Having Trouble Choosing a Guardian for Your Child With Special Needs

When I am working with clients who have minor children, or children with special needs, the conversation always includes talk of potential guardians. For minor children the guardian would need to serve until the children turned 18. For children with special needs, depending on their abilities, they might need a guardian for their entire life.Continue Reading

A Resource for Parents of Children With Special Needs

Parents of children with special needs are often told to write a “letter of intent” for their child’s future care givers or to create a binder with all the information someone would need to know. The prospect of this can be overwhelming, leaving people with little idea of where to start or what to include.Continue Reading

What Can Special Needs Trust Funds Be Spent On?

A frequent concern with parents of special needs children who have set up a special needs trust for that child is making sure that the child gets the most use out of the money. The limitations put on the expenditures by Social Security and other regulations can sometimes make parents or other family trustees hesitantContinue Reading

Friendship Home – A Resource For Individuals With Developmental Disabilities

I recently spoke to a group of parents at the Friendship Home in Norwell about planning for their children who have developmental disabilities.  Friendship Home opened in 2010 and provides respite care, day programs, job training, travel opportunities and family support. They also provide companion services and peer support groups. As their website says: FriendshipContinue Reading

Who Should Be Trustee of Our Special Needs Trust?

When parents are setting up a Special Needs Trust in Massachusetts for a child, one of the primary considerations is who will serve as trustee in the event that the parents can no longer fill this role.  The trustee is the person who would be in charge of making decisions about money and property, makingContinue Reading

What Does My Lawyer Need to Know?

Before I meet with clients, I send them questionnaire so they can gather information that will help us both be more productive in our meeting. In general, clients bring this paper work back in one of three ways: 1. Completely filled out with attachments and tabs, 2. Partially filled out (meaning they put their nameContinue Reading

Should You Have Co-Guardians?

When thinking about pursuing guardianship over a family member with special needs who is unable to care for themselves, many families wonder whether they should appoint co-guardians, so that there is someone in place if something happens to one of the guardians. Here are some of the benefits to having co-guardians: Someone is available ifContinue Reading

Resource For Parents of Children With Special Needs

My Texas colleague, Pamela Parker, has written a workbook for parents to help you create a “personal instruction manual for your special needs child.” As Pamela writes, the workbook helps parents provide information about their special needs child to future caregivers and trustees. By using the charts and answering the questions in this workbook, parentsContinue Reading

Action Item – Start Writing Your Letter of Intent

Some people get overwhelmed with the idea of getting their affairs in order and as a result find it easier to do nothing.  To help people with that inertia, I'll be posting weekly Action Items – little steps that take an hour or less that will move you forward in the process and make itContinue Reading