Our attorneys are committed to practicing the law with compassion, integrity, and professionalism, while finding creative and practical strategies for meeting clients' needs. As a small law firm, we take a team approach, our attorneys handle each case personally, and we keep things cost-effective. We provide a wide array of services related to disability law, as well as other legal matters. We help clients in the following areas:
Estate Planning That Incorporates Special Needs Trusts
In years past, families were frequently advised to disinherit a loved one who had a disability. But the law now provides that an inheritance may be left to a special needs trust. Such trusts allow a person with a disability to remain on public benefits, while reserving private funds, such as an inheritance, to enhance his or her quality of life.
Our attorneys frequently draft special needs trusts as a part of their clients' overall estate plans. For many clients, they draft a package of documents including wills or a living trust, a special needs trust for their child or other loved one with a disability, and powers of attorney. Please inquire about our package options.
Self-Funded Special Needs Trusts
Our attorneys also draft "self-funded" special needs trusts to shelter the assets of people with disabilities. When a person with a disability has his or her own funds, such as a settlement from a lawsuit, an unexpected inheritance, a lump-sum of benefits, or savings from previous earnings, it is sometimes possible to transfer those funds to a special needs trust. Our attorneys work with clients to establish freestanding special needs trusts or to transfer assets to pooled trusts, such as the Hope Network Foundation Pooled Trust.
Guardianship & Alternatives to Guardianship
When a young person who is disabled turns 18, parents and other loved ones often ask whether they should petition the court for legal guardianship. Our attorneys assist with petitions for guardianship when necessary. But one size does not fit all in analyzing the need for guardianship. We always inform clients if there are alternatives that would provide adequate protection for the person with a disability. Many times, if the person is able to recognize their need for assistance in handling healthcare decisions, finances, and other matters, they can voluntarily sign powers of attorney as an alternative to guardianship. Our attorneys evaluate clients' unique situations and provide guidance on the most appropriate route to take. If you'd like more information about guardianship and alternatives, you can download our Quick Reference by clicking here.
Advice Regarding Public Benefits, such as SSI, SSDI, & Medicaid
The application process for public benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), and Medicaid can be complex and overwhelming to people with disabilities and their loved ones. Our attorneys frequently provide advice to applicants about the process. They are also experienced in appealing denials of initial applications.
Navigating the Special Education & Community Mental Health Systems
Our attorneys can offer valuable advice regarding the educational rights of students with disabilities and their families, and how to protect those rights. And they refer clients to non-attorney advocates when appropriate. Our attorneys also frequently advise families about the transition from special education to the world of adult mental health services. That transition can, in some cases, be confusing and frustrating for people with disabilities and their loved ones. The person-centered plan / individual plan of service under the Michigan Mental Health Code is much like the "IEP" in special education. Our attorneys help people with disabilities and their families understand their rights and maximize the services available through community mental health systems.
Advice Regarding Creative Housing for People with Disabilities
Parents often wonder where their son or daughter with a disability will live in the future. Our attorneys offer guidance to families about the creative housing options available to people with disabilities, such as supportive living arrangements in houses and apartments. They also provide legal advice to community groups and churches on setting up housing for people with disabilities.
Traditional Estate Planning, Probate, & Other Practice Areas
Our firm frequently works with clients to develop traditional estate plans and incapacity plans. Everyone can benefit from an estate plan, whether it includes a simple will or more complex trust. Our attorneys are experienced in drafting documents such as wills, living trusts, and powers of attorney, and handle the probate of decedents' estates and trust administration. They also help clients with other matters such as small business and non-profit formation, preparation of deeds, including lady bird deeds, and more.
We hope to have the opportunity to serve you. Please contact us for more information or to make an appointment with one of our attorneys.