SERVICES

Guardianships

Somewhere along this journey, hopefully sooner rather than later, parents of a child with disabilities should get legal documents in place to protect themselves and their child. Generally, a special needs trust should be established for a child with disabilities. Through a special needs trust, parents can leave money for the benefit of their disabled child without disqualifying the child from such benefits as Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and DPSD funding. If a special needs trust is not in place upon the death of the parents, the child with disabilities would likely inherit from the parents under state law and be disqualified from these benefits. By age 18 it is often necessary for the family to secure guardianship over a disabled individual and the parent should also apply for Social Security Income and Medicaid for their child. It is also recommended that each parent have a will that names a guardian for his or her minor children, a power of attorney, and a medical directive. Parents may also want to consider a revocable trust as part of their legal planning.

Testimonials

Jeff and Deana H.

Together as spouses we talked about our end-of-life wishes and also made provisions for our other child. We are glad we took the time to make these important decisions, and we are grateful for the sensitivity Ms. Thornton gave to our unique situation.

We just want to thank you for your work on getting us guardianship over our son with special needs. For a long time, we have been very nervous about how to go about it, and you took care of everything perfectly. There was a lot that needed to been done, and you handled it all. You made going to court as easy as possible and took away all of our worries. Thank you for all of your help. We appreciate it so much. We highly recommend you to anyone needing legal help with their special needs children.

Special Needs Planning

When a baby with special needs is born, parents are initially consumed with meeting the medical needs of their child and coming to grips with the fact that their baby likely will not have the kind of life they expected. Soon a routine of Doctor visits, therapy, and worry settles in as “normal.” Nagging fears soon arise about who will care for their child if and when the parents cannot.

Somewhere along this journey, hopefully sooner rather than later, parents of a child with disabilities should get legal documents in place to protect themselves and their child. Generally, a special needs trust should be established for a child with disabilities. By age 18 it is often necessary for the family to secure guardianship over a disabled individual and the parent should also apply for Social Security Income and Medicaid for their child. It is also recommended that each parent have a will that names a guardian for his or her minor children, a power of attorney, and a medical directive. Parents may also want to consider a revocable trust as part of their planning.

Lisa Broderick Thornton is well qualified to help you with all your special needs legal planning, having helped hundreds of families with children with special needs. She is especially empathetic, having lived the world of special needs for the last several years with her daughter, Kate, who has Prader-Willi syndrome.

Testimonials

Emily P:

As parents of a special needs child, sometimes just thinking about what must get done today is as far as we can plan. But with the help of Lisa Thornton,we are confident that should our child need legal protection and estate management after we are gone, he is in good hands. Mrs. Thornton guided us through the process of ensuring that our son’s financial and physical needs are met. We selected a guardian we are confident has our son’s best interests at heart, and we established a trust to fund his care if needs be.

Legal Planning for Missionaries

A missionary leaving to serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints should consider leaving a financial power of attorney for someone to be able to legally act for them and also having a Health Care agent named through a medical directive. A Hipaa Release Form can also make getting medical records easier. Lisa can provide you those documents and have one more thing on your lengthy checklist completed!

Estate Planning

You should complete your estate planning to protect your assets and the people you love. Lisa Broderick Thornton can help you get these documents in place. Each parent should have a will, a power of attorney, and a medical directive. Many parents will also want to consider a revocable trust as part of their estate planning. Contact Lisa for a free consultation to discuss how these documents, discussed more fully below, can protect your assets for the people you love.

WILLS

A will is an essential basic legal document that allows you to direct to whom your property will be distributed upon your death, such as your children, grandchildren, charities, or other heirs. If you die without a will, you die “intestate” and the state decides how your assets will be distributed. The executor is named in your will, and is the person that will administer your wishes upon your death. You should also name a guardian for your minor children in your will. If you die without a will and have a child with disabilities, that child will likely inherit from you and would become ineligible for government benefits such as SSI, Medicaid, and DSPD.

REVOCABLE TRUSTS

Many parents will want to choose a revocable trust along with a will that pours over their assets into the revocable trust upon death. This choice allows a family to avoid probate with the accompanying delay, court costs, and attorney fees.

MEDICAL HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVES

The Utah Advanced Health Care Directive names the people you want to act on your behalf when you are unable to communicate your desires for medical treatment. This document also makes known your wishes regarding donation of organs and medical research. Lisa can help you with this document.

DURABLE POWER OF ATTORNEY

A durable power of attorney names those to act for you while you are still living if you become disabled or incapacitated and cannot make decisions on your own regarding your financial matters. This important document allows loved ones to act for you and prevents the need for a guardianship to be established for you if you are incapacitated. Lisa can help you set up this document for your protection.

Areas of Practice

REVOCABLE TRUSTS

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SOCIAL SECURITY INCOME

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DURABLE POWERS OF ATTORNEY

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ADVANCED HEALTH CARE DIRECTIVES

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