Each stage in your loved one’s life requires particular planning. To help you understand the process we have broken it down into 6 stages.

At every stage we review:

  • your documents and savings strategies

  • family circumstances

  • fiduciary strategies

  • benefits available to you and your child


1.) Birth through five years


In the early years we help you focus on laying the groundwork to be sure you have a plan in place to protect your family in the event of your death. We can help you with:

  • creating your Letter of Intent

  • setting up a special needs trust

  • selecting guardians

  • preparing a Will

  • selecting trustees

  • information about how to save for your child’s future using an ABLE Account or Uniform Transfer to Minors’ Account 

  • finding resources within the community:  SNA, ASNP, Exceptional Parent, disability oriented groups

  • accessing services (Early Intervention Programs in every county – not means tested); get on waiting lists

  • sibling education

  • reaching out to grandparents and other extended family members

  • developing circle of support


As your child grows, you may revisit your plan and make updates.  Perhaps those whom you selected to be guardians and trustees (your “fiduciary appointments”) are no longer the right fit, or other family members may have grown and become ready for such roles.  At each stage we review your documents and family situation and work with you to update as needed.  

2.) Five years through Middle School

  • Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) is an educational right of children with disabilities in the United States that is guaranteed by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

  • Review of types of education assessment documents – IEP, 504, etc.

  • DDA application

  • get involved in activities such as Special Olympics

3.) High School

  • FAPE check

  • review of types of education assessment documents – IEP, 504, etc.

  • planning for post-secondary education

  • DDA application

  • continued activities

  • planning for assets in child’s name

  • supporting child’s decision making in future: discussion of guardianship and alternatives

  • discussion of public benefits: SSI, SSDI, MA, Medicare, Waiver programs

  • identifying community based service providers

  • plan out the role of siblings and other family members in child’s future

4.) Approaching adulthood: Age 15-18

  • planning for benefits eligibility at 18

  • parent has retired, died or is disabled – what then?

  • fundamentals of SSI

  • planning for residence

  • planning for work


As your child is transitioning from high school, we can help you to understand the process of becoming eligible for the programs which can offer employment supports, day programs and residential care.  

This is a good time to check on other family members who may want to set funds aside for your child, and coordinate how these funds can be protected for your child while not interfering with benefits eligibility.

5.) Transitioning to Adulthood

As your child approaches the age of 18 - 21, new opportunities become available.  We make sure that you are aware of all resources available to you.

  • Planning for supporting child’s decision making in future: discussion of guardianship and alternatives

  • If capable, your child may want to prepare his or her legal documents

  • We revisit your estate plan, and remind you about updating the appointment of fiduciaries as well as beneficiary designations

  • We review your and your child’s circumstances to help enable eligibility for important income and assistance benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medical Assistance (also known as Medicaid)    


DDA/DORS services

  • selecting community based providers through Community Pathways Waiver

  • developing own provider network through New Directions

  • strategize for residence

  • planning for work

  • role of siblings and other family members in child’s future

6.) Beyond 21: Coping as Senior Parents


As you the parents grow older, you want to be sure that your plan is in place and will be carried out as instructed.  We help by identifying resources in the community that provide advocacy and care management services, to complement the other services that your child may already be receiving. We provide the peace of mind that comes from knowing your child will be cared for the way you would do it yourself.

  • document review

  • review any need for changes in community-based providers

  • strengthen circle of support

  • planning for advocacy for child in the future


Padonia Centre

30 E. Padonia Road, Ste. 306

Timonium, MD  21093

Phone: 410-667-0020 | Fax: 410-667-7841

Copyright 2019 O'Byrne Law, LLC