• July 4, 2017 /  Special Needs

    I know Lori Cochrane from our association at the local Professional Fiduciaries Association chapter where she is chair of the education committee. She is also a local, licensed professional fiduciary specializing in all matters of the person and practices a person-first-and-centered philosophy as a special needs and health care advocate. She earned her B.A. in Behavioral Psychology and her Master’s Degree in Special Education from CSU, Sacramento. She is a professional member of the National Guardianship Association, Professional Fiduciary Association of California, The Arc of California, and the Placer County BAR Association. She has been helping families during times of difficulty and transitions since 2000. Lori can be reached at 916-705-7309 or Lori@CochraneCSS.com.

    This is posted with permission and may also be found at:  https://www.cochranecss.com/single-post/2017/06/06/SPECIAL-NEEDS-PLANNING-Who-will-watch-over-my-child-with-special-needs-as-they-age-when-I-am-not-able

    Special Needs Planning: Who will watch over my child with special needs as they age when I am not able?

    For parents of a child with special needs many questions arise as the child becomes an adult;

    Will they be able to live independently? Will they have an adequate and dignified place to live? Will they be able to pay their own bills? Who will watch-over my child to ensure their needs are met?

    If you have come to the realization of life-long dependence for your child, planning for their transition into adulthood will go a long way to ease your mind. Before your child turns 18-years-old, becoming an adult, it is important to plan for who will make decisions on their behalf if they are not able. Consult with an attorney to discuss whether assigning an agent with power of attorney or establishing a court conservatorship is appropriate.

    Who can be assigned as a decision maker?

    Parents are the likeliest chosen decision makers. The usual recommendation is to select one parent primarily and the other parent as an alternate. Both parents may be assigned as co-conservators if your adult child does not have capacity.

    The usual recommendation when planning is to include a succession plan in the event you become unavailable, incapacitated, or die. You may consider including a close responsible adult as an alternate. Whoever is selected they must be over 18 years of age, and be willing to serve in this role.

    The qualities of a person best suited to act as a decision maker for a person with special needs is someone who will act in the best interest of the person, separate from their own interests. They must be trustworthy and capable as a strong advocate navigating and adapting the plan of care as the person ages. They must have the knowledge necessary to preserve the person’s public benefits and prudently manage their finances. Direct service providers or their employees may not serve in this role.

    There are professionals who specialize in this area who can help you plan, manage services, and advocate for your adult child’s best interest.

    How will I know when it’s time to seek help?

    Planning for your inability to serve as your child’s decision maker is wise. The loss of your ability or willingness to manage important things isn’t likely to be black and white or happen overnight. As time progresses and the realities of aging become known, you as a parent may find yourself less-willing or less-able to manage everything for your adult child. Maybe you are feeling it is best to be busy in your own lives or you want to help your adult child become less dependent on you.

    The need for less dependency or a less restrictive arrangement may become apparent. You may choose to step-back somewhat to provide your adult child the tools or resources which will be available to them as you become less available. Arranging for your adult child to live outside of your home with the necessary supports will be important to do before long. Finding an appropriate living arrangement along with navigating the maze of resources and public benefits, can be managed by a professional.  You might consider involving a licensed professional fiduciary to help with the transition between your adult child being your dependent, to your adult child living independent of you.

    What can a licensed professional fiduciary do to help the transition?

    Licensed professional fiduciaries provide critical services to help protect and maintain quality of life for vulnerable people. When it comes to people with special needs, some professional fiduciaries who specialize can identify critical needs, manage a person’s publicly provided services, protect their public benefits, and consult with doctors and attorneys as necessary.

    A Licensed professional fiduciary can open an *ABLE Act account on behalf of a person, and serve as the legal representative managing the account.

    A licensed professional fiduciary can also serve as a consultant, or as agent for power of attorney for health care and/or for finances. They can also serve as a court appointed conservator for a person with special needs under a limited conservatorship. Some fiduciaries specialize in serving as either health care agent or finance agent as trustee.

    In California, fiduciaries are licensed and regulated by the state of California’s Professional Fiduciary Bureau under the Department of Consumer Affairs.  You can learn about the high standards and stringent requirements licensed professional fiduciaries are held to by visiting their website at www.fiduciary.ca.gov.

    *You can learn more about the ABLE Act by visiting www.ablenrc.org.

    guardian visit

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  • August 29, 2013 /  Special Needs

    I had a blind guitar instructor in college. He knew his way around campus (Sac State) and was more than proficient playing the guitar. He didn’t need help, taught me the right way to “guide” him (he held on to my arm) when he needed help in negotiating or was lazy in using his stick, and amazed me with his independence.

    One day he was teaching me a fancy lick on the guitar and all of a sudden he “disappeared”. I mean, not physically but mentally…personality left. He was quite for a few moments and then asked, “Where am I, who are you?” I asked him if he was okay and he started getting agitated so I told him my name and that we were in his house. He asked what was going on and why he couldn’t see anything. At that moment I remembered that sometimes when someone “blanks” out that it could be a form of epilepsy.

    the arc logoI don’t know why I should think of that right then but I decided to “play along” with him. I told him that the lights went out, we were waiting for them to come back on and that, in the meantime, I was playing guitar for him. So I asked if I could continue and he was okay with that.

    When he “came back” he again, asked what happened. This time I used his name and asked him, “Is that you?” Answering in the affirmative he asked if I understood what just happened. I told him that I guessed that he had an epileptic episode and he confirmed it. He was pleasantly surprised that I would know that and apologetic that he hadn’t told me that he had seizures in the past but hadn’t had any for a couple of years. He was the best guitar instructor I ever had and miss him and his corny jokes.

    The point is that I was prepared and that is one of the messages of The Arc organization. They want the public to understand and be prepared for including those with intellectual and developmental disabilities into their world. They also advocate on their behalf and provide resources.

    Please visit the national website http://www.thearc.org/who-we-are and then go to the state site http://www.thearcca.org/ and finally our local site in Roseville http://www.thearc.org/.

    Serving Auburn, Lincoln, Roseville, Rocklin, Sacramento, and the counties of Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo, Yuba, El Dorado, Nevada and even Humboldt.

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  • June 24, 2013 /  Basics

    help

    I am not an expert. I, like many, am learning. I use resources, I refer people to resources, I take classes, go to seminars and attend groups sessions to gain knowledge and learn from others experiences. What makes a licensed professional Fiduciary different, and me in particular, is that we advocate and serve for a living. There is a bit more experience we have when it comes to administering Trusts and acting as Conservators for person and estate so that gives us familiarity of routine and potential problems/issues that will be faced.

    What I try to do on my website is to give you hope, encouragement and tools to use in your caregiving and/or administration.  There are many people who choose not to use my services or that of my fellow Fiduciaries because, well, because they just want somebody they know to do the work, and you…you may be one of those honored to serve but clueless or just needing some help in performing your service so why should I keep information to myself? I don’t and won’t!

    I have been taking classes and going to seminars on two subjects recently to increase awareness and learn how to serve my clients who are beneficiaries in a Special Needs Trusts or are LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender). I will be sharing what I learn and how this knowledge has helped me serve my current clients (and my future clients as well).

    While my office is in Lincoln CA, I serve Placer, Sacramento, Sutter, Yolo, Solano, El Dorado, Yuba counties. Depending on what is required I can also serve counties like Humbolt and beyond.

    Call for your free consultation. 916-220-3474

    Yours in Service,

    Michael

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  • June 13, 2011 /  Basics

    special needs trustA special needs trust is set up for one of two reasons:

    1. Court ordered on behalf of a person so someone independent can manage funds either up to a certain age or permanently.

    2. Guardians, i.e. parents of a special needs person, sets it up so the special needs person can receive public benefits and still have other expenses cared for. Someone else manages the cash to pay for other expenses not covered by public benefits. Public benefits covers food and shelter and the trust can pay for clothing, furniture, car, gasoline, insurance, etc.

    If there is a pool of money, the fiduciary must invest it wisely to get a return for the client according to the Uniform Prudent Investors Act in the California Probate Code. Other income must also be managed appropriately.

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