Webinar Recap: Special Needs Education Law and Special Needs Trusts
Updated: Jun 24, 2022
Parents of children with special needs are concerned about the education rights of their children, and ensuring their children are taken care of well into the future. Many parents have questions about special needs laws and protections. New Jersey Estate Planning Attorney Christine Matus of Matus Law Group and I hosted a webinar discussing special needs education law with an emphasis on how special needs trusts can help parents plan for the long-term care of their special needs children.
If you missed the live webinar, here’s a recorded version of the webinar and a summary of the webinar discussions.
Below is an overview of our webinar discussion. To ensure you receive notification of future webinars and other news for parents of special needs children, join our mailing list here.
Overview of Special Needs Education Law and Special Needs Trusts
One of the most important goals of our discussion was to break down the terminology of special education law and special needs planning. We want to help parents gain a better understanding of these topics.
It can feel overwhelming for families to have to navigate through everything alone from making the right education decisions for your special needs child to creating a special needs trust for your child. However, by becoming more familiar with these topics and terminology, you will be able to make more informed decisions.
Where to start with my special needs child?
There are various ways to understand what is going on with your child. Here are some key points that we discussed.
Listen to your child’s classroom teacher
Pay attention to what your child is saying (for example, complaining about certain subjects in school)
Have an objective, independent neuropsychological evaluation conducted for your child
Schedule a meeting with your child’s school district
Your IEP meeting
An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a written education plan and is typically a meeting between the parents, the school district, psychologist, classroom teacher, and special education teacher
All parties are equals in IEP meetings
During an IEP meeting, 12 months goals are typically laid along with objectives to meet
It’s important to discuss appropriate classroom type and related services that will be an appropriate fit for your child
As the parents, you should not feel pressure to agree to all the terms of the IEP right away. At the end of the day, you know what is best for your child
You can always consult a special education attorney if you feel the district and supporting parties are not doing what is best for your child
What does free appropriate public education mean?
This means that your child is entitled to a free appropriate public education regardless of your child’s nature and the severity of the disability.
Your child should be progressing each school year
Your child is entitled to a least restrictive environment if that is what is appropriate for your child
District may have to fund the cost of a private school for your child if they can’t meet the needs of your child
It is possible to switch schools in the future and keep your funding
What is a special needs trust?
A special needs trust is an estate planning tool to make sure that your child is protected into the future if you can no longer care for your child.
Some key points are:
The trust would put someone in control who is trustworthy and would not take advantage of the special needs child/adult
Benefits and funds are set up and put in place for the future
There are a few different types of trusts -- a special needs lawyer would be able to help you determine which trust would work best for you and your family and answer any questions you may have
You don't have to fund the trust initially. It’s important to open the trust with the assistance of a special needs lawyer
Usually, little or no minimum funds are needed to keep a special needs trust open
If you have questions about special education laws and special needs trusts that were not covered in the webinar, please contact the Law Office of Adam Dayan at 646-866-7157 to discuss your particular circumstances.
About the Law Offices of Adam Dayan
Adam Dayan Esq. is a New York special needs attorney. Established in 2009, the Law Offices of Adam Dayan has had the primary purpose of making sure children with special needs receive a quality education and long-term financial security.
In 2021, Adam launched a podcast called Curious Incident: A Podcast For Special Needs Families. As host, Adam interview experts in the field of special education who can be resources to parents whose children have special needs.