On Thursday, February 16, 2017 St. Louis Center in Chelsea, MI hosted its first public seminar entitled “Securing the Future for Special Needs Families: Protect, Provide and Prosper.” The purpose of the program was to provide parents and families caring for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities with experts in special needs trusts and guardianships to help them plan for the future. According to Fr. Enzo Addari, SdC., “At St. Louis Center, we feel that we are in a unique position to provide a level of expertise to families in need who might not be able to provide these resources for themselves. Many people with special needs are powerless and voiceless, and planning for their future is critical for them to live successful lives beyond their parents.”
The keynote speakers for the program were attorneys Daniel R. Shirey of Kitch Counselors in Detroit, and Joshua R. Fink of Fink & Fink, LLC, a family law firm in Ann Arbor, MI. Shirey began the presentation with a discussion on the importance of setting up “Special Needs Trust Funds” for the financial needs of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities after the parents have gone. According to Shirey, “One of the primary goals of special needs trusts is to allow an individual with a disability to qualify for government benefits while also having a source of funds that can be used to pay for things that government programs will not pay for.”
Fink then went on to discuss the importance of establishing legal guardianships for people with special needs to make it clear that another responsible party can legally assist in managing the affairs of a loved one. Fink discussed the process for petitioning Michigan’s Probate Courts for guardianship appointments for an individual with special needs.
The 42 people in attendance were surveyed, and concluded that the presentations were excellent and helpful for future planning. To contact Daniel R. Shirey, call Kitch Counselors in Detroit at 313-965-7900, www.kitch.com. Joshua R. Fink of Ann Arbor can be reached at 734-994-1077.