Juris Doctorate, Brooklyn Law School
LLM in Taxation, University of Miami School of Law
Member of New York State Bar Association
- Trusts and Estates Section
- Elder Law Section
United States Federal Court Pro Bono Panel Social Security/Disability Appeals
Certified Part 36 Guardian Ad Litem and Supplemental Needs Trustee
Charter Member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners
2010 Recipient of the Maxwell J. Schleifer Distinguished Service Award
2017 Recipient of the Susan Weshler Memorial Award for humanitarian endeavors
Member of the Long Island Board of Easter Seals New York
Mr. Cohen’s vast professional and personal experience has led him to become an author and frequent lecturer on legal planning for families that include individuals with special needs. He speaks at events hosted by public and private schools, and a multitude of agencies that serve the special needs community. Mr. Cohen believes that it is crucial for parents of individuals with special needs to hear this information and to make all of the arrangements necessary to protect and provide for each family member.
For parents of a child with special needs, having wills is not enough to legally and financially protect their family. A comprehensive estate plan must consider the following:
Eligibility for Government Benefits
When planning for a disabled person’s financial future, issues of entitlement to government benefits are an inevitable part of the discussion. The law is both complex and extensive with respect to qualifying for and obtaining such benefits. Mr. Cohen can help you understand the differences between Medicaid, Medicare, SSI and SSDI, and assist you in determining if your disabled loved one is entitled to any of these government benefits.
A Supplemental Needs Trust
The most important tool in formulating a plan to care for an individual with special needs is a supplemental needs trust. If properly drafted, the assets that fund the trust provide a comfortable and secure financial future for a disabled person without disqualifying the individual from important government benefits. A Trustee, usually a person similar in age to the disabled individual, manages the trust, or parents might select an institution or organization to provide Trustee services.
New York State provides two types of proceedings for circumstances where a guardian, usually a parent, is appointed to manage the personal affairs and/or financial decisions of an incapable individual. Mr. Cohen is qualified to handle whichever proceeding is right for your family.
The Letter of Intent
This useful part of an estate plan provides basic facts to loved ones about assets and liabilities, as well as personal wishes upon one’s death or incapacitation. A typical letter also includes contacts such as doctors, attorneys, accountants, financial advisors, insurance agents and clergy. The location of your wills, trusts, bank statements, proof of citizenship, durable powers of attorney, funeral and burial instructions should be provided too. For a family with a special needs child, the letter is an exceptionally useful tool for conveying the unique traits, needs, abilities and desires of your child; it’s a virtual user’s manual to aid the designee(s) in the future care of this individual, and it represents the best means of communicating your hopes for your child.
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Whether your needs are simple or intricate, the Law Offices of Andrew M. Cohen can help you achieve your objectives through careful legal planning, regardless of the size of your estate. All clients are provided with high quality, personalized and timely legal services at a reasonable cost.