Stenger, Roberts, Davis & Diamond, LLP
For Immediate Release
Contact: Amy Zucchi-Justice
845-298-2000 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Wappingers Falls, NY– March 9, 2018 — In what is likely the first such case in New York State, the Suffolk County Surrogate has approved the transfer of funds from a guardianship account to a NY ABLE account for the benefit of an intellectually disabled individual in an application brought by STENGER, ROBERTS, DAVIS & DIAMOND.
“This is an extremely important development for those who have family members who are intellectually disabled,” said Thomas R. Davis, the attorney who obtained the Suffolk County Surrogate’s approval. “The use of an ABLE account greatly simplifies the management of a disabled person’s funds, while at the same time maintaining the disabled person’s eligibility for Medicaid.”
In the Matter of Michael D., Michael had a guardian appointed for him many years ago. Michael had served many years as a volunteer in the community and was entitled to benefits that paid out over time. He also worked on occasion and had funds from those endeavors. All those funds were in the control of a family member who was his guardian. But because they were in a guardianship account, the rigorous requirements of petitioning for withdrawals, annual accountings and the like became cumbersome. The funds were also starting to accumulate to the point where they could impact on his eligibility for government benefits. A Supplemental Needs Trust would have been an option, but the NY ABLE accounts (Achieving a Better Life Experience) accounts are easier to manage, do not need further court approval and are ideal for relatively smaller amounts of funds. Additionally, the funds are exempt from taxation on interest and dividends.
The Federal Government created ABLE accounts in 2014 and New York enacted its state program in 2015.
“ABLE accounts are easy to set up and manage,” said Davis. “It is important we make caring for a disabled family member as simple as possible. It is easy to become overwhelmed with the educational, medical, legal and financial aspects of care. Anything that simplifies it is a step in the right direction.”
“Guardians who are managing funds should strongly consider such accounts,” said Davis. “Our firm is committed to seeking solutions and we are available to help get such transfers approved.”
STENGER, ROBERTS, DAVIS & DIAMOND (SRDDLAW.COM) in Wappingers Falls, New York has extensive experience in special needs planning. The firm also practices in the area of personal injury law, estates and trusts, business law, litigation and real estate.