Special Needs Planning

Our firm assists clients with disabilities and their family with legal and benefits planning for their long-term needs, because we know first-hand what it is like to have a loved one with special needs. Get started today!

Hi. I’m Dana Vouga, Certified Senior Advisor and Elder Law Paralegal with Vouga Elder Law & Estate Planning. Rick and I know the joys and challenges of having a child with special needs.

Shortly after our daughter Catherine was born she was diagnosed with a rare genetic condition called Williams Syndrome. This causes a heart condition, problems with motor skills, and mental retardation. When she was 18, she was also diagnosed as bi-polar; a form of mental illness.   At first we were consumed with just getting through one day at a time. As Catherine grew up, we realized – in addition to taking care of health issues and schooling –there was also the necessity to plan; both for when she turned 18 and to provide for her after we are gone.

When Catherine turned 18, we could no longer legally make health care decisions and handle her financial affairs. Catherine has the ability to sign Durable Powers of Attorney for health care and finances, appointing us to make decisions for her. Not everyone with special needs has that ability. For those who don’t, a Guardianship and Conservatorship is necessary. Whenever possible, it is best to avoid a Guardianship and Conservatorship.

It is very important for you to have a “special needs trust” in place.  This ensures any inheritance you leave your child does not disqualify them for any government benefits for which they are entitled. There are also many things government benefits do not provide; you want to make sure money you leave your child covers these benefit gaps. The special needs trust must be carefully structured and worded to ensure compliance with the law.

Key Things to Remember:

St. Louis Regional Center

If diagnosed with a disability before 18, register with the St. Louis Regional Center for services.

SSI - Supplemental Security Income

Set up income for children and adults with a disability

(Medical Insurance)

Prepare and ensure medical coverage for a child or adult with a disability

Our experience and approach is intended to give you peace of mind and allow you to maximize the time you have with your loved one. Every situation is unique, but our process most often progresses as follows: 

Step 1

Request A FREE Conference

Submitting our conference request is fast and easy and you can expect a response the same or next business day.

Step 2

We Will Call You To Schedule a Conference

Once we have received your request, our Client Services Coordinator will reach out to schedule an in-person conference to understand more about your situation and how we can help.

Step 3

Meet With A Member of Our Team

Given that everyone’s situation is unique, it is important that we gather information to help recommend that best course of action.

The Time to "Get Your Ducks In a Row" is NOW!

Call TODAY at 636-394-0009, or use the link below, to set up a FREE, NO OBLIGATION conference!

Request Today