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Eighteen percent of the U.S. population – some 51 million individuals – have some form of disability. Nearly two-thirds of them are categorized as having a severe disability, one that impairs mobility, communication, cognition, or interpersonal skills.
Largely due to the activism of family members, legal protections, benefit programs, and social services have been established to provide a foundation for the educational, medical, and economic well-being of individuals with disabilities. Social attitudes, too, have evolved, making it easier for those with special needs to build lives within the greater community. But a great deal remains to be done, and much responsibility falls to parents, siblings, and self-advocates themselves to ensure that legal rights are respected and that security is ensured.
Families with special needs individuals, whether a physical disability or a mental disorder such as autism, must always remain diligent in their planning strategies. The road to maintaining services is filled with potholes, particularly with California’s recent budget cuts in social services. Furthermore, special accommodations, such as a special needs trust, should be employed in estate planning for families with special needs issues. That’s where our Special Needs and Estate Planning attorneys can help.