What Are the Steps Involved in Special Needs Planning with the Help of Lawyers?


Special needs planning involves making legal and financial arrangements to ensure the well-being and future care of individuals with disabilities. Navigating this complex process requires the expertise of a special needs planning law firm that specializes in special needs law. In this article, we will discuss the important steps involved in special needs planning and how lawyers can assist in this crucial endeavor.

Special needs planning is the process of making legal and financial arrangements to ensure the long-term care and support of individuals with disabilities. It involves addressing various aspects such as healthcare, housing, education, and finances to provide a secure future for the individual with special needs.

Step 1: Assessing the Individual’s Needs and Goals

The first step in special needs planning is to assess the unique needs, abilities, and goals of the individual with disabilities. This includes understanding their medical condition, support requirements, and aspirations for the future. By gaining a comprehensive understanding of their situation, lawyers can tailor the planning process to meet their specific needs.

Step 2: Creating a Comprehensive Plan

Once the needs and goals have been assessed, lawyers can help create a comprehensive special needs plan. This plan outlines the strategies and legal instruments necessary to protect the individual’s interests. It may include provisions for healthcare decision-making, asset management, and the appointment of guardians or advocates.

Step 3: Establishing a Special Needs Trust

One of the key components of special needs planning is establishing a special needs trust. This legal instrument allows individuals with disabilities to receive financial support without jeopardizing their eligibility for government benefit programs. Lawyers specializing in special needs law can assist in setting up and managing the trust, ensuring it aligns with the individual’s specific requirements.

Step 4: Identifying Government Benefit Programs

Government benefit programs can provide vital support to individuals with special needs. Lawyers proficient in special needs planning are well-versed in the eligibility criteria and application processes for these programs. They can help identify and secure benefits such as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid, and housing assistance.

Step 5: Structuring Financial Support

In special needs planning, it is essential to structure financial support in a way that does not affect the individual’s eligibility for government benefits. Lawyers can provide guidance on managing assets, creating a sustainable financial plan, and exploring options like ABLE accounts (tax-advantaged savings accounts for individuals with disabilities). This ensures that the individual has access to necessary resources while preserving their eligibility for vital programs.

Step 6: Guardianship and Conservatorship

For individuals with severe disabilities who are unable to make decisions independently, guardianship and conservatorship may be necessary. Lawyers can assist in navigating the legal process of obtaining guardianship or conservatorship, ensuring that the individual’s rights and best interests are protected.

Step 7: Updating and Reviewing the Plan Regularly

Special needs planning is not a one-time event; it requires regular review and updates. Life circumstances change, and the individual’s needs may evolve over time. Lawyers can help ensure that the special needs plan remains relevant and effective by conducting periodic reviews and making necessary adjustments.


In conclusion, Shields Law special needs planning lawyers play a pivotal role in guiding individuals and families through the intricate process of special needs planning. With their expertise and knowledge in special needs law, these lawyers provide invaluable assistance in creating comprehensive plans that address the unique needs and goals of individuals with disabilities.

Through careful assessment of the individual’s requirements, Shields Law special needs planning lawyers help lay the foundation for a tailored plan that encompasses various aspects, such as healthcare, finances, government benefits, and guardianship. They work closely with their clients to establish special needs trusts, ensuring that financial support is structured in a way that safeguards eligibility for vital government programs.

Moreover, Shields Law special needs planning lawyers have a deep understanding of the intricate eligibility criteria and application processes for government benefit programs, including Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid, and housing assistance. This knowledge allows them to effectively identify and secure the benefits that can provide crucial support to individuals with special needs.

Additionally, these lawyers emphasize the importance of regularly reviewing and updating the special needs plan to adapt to changing circumstances. By offering ongoing guidance and assistance, Shields Law special needs planning lawyers ensure that the plan remains relevant and effective over time.

In essence, Shields Law special needs planning lawyers bring peace of mind to individuals and families by providing the expertise, support, and legal guidance needed to navigate the complexities of special needs planning. By entrusting their needs to these dedicated professionals, individuals with disabilities can secure a brighter and more secure future.