Special Needs


Special Needs

  • Our commitment lasts a lifetime. Whether your loved one with special needs is an adult or a child, we can help. We work as advocates for individuals with disabilities throughout their life. 
  • We are experienced. Our attorneys have been practicing special needs law for more than 20 years. Involved in both legislative and regulatory advocacy, we have trained attorneys, community providers, individuals, and families regarding various aspects of disability law, and have authored many publications.
  • This is our passion. Our attorneys are active participants in the disability community. We volunteer our time with the national, state and local chapters of The Arc, and one attorney is a past chair of the Special Needs Law section of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA). Several members of our team have relatives with a disability.


Caring now, caring later

Special needs attorneys at Fletcher Tilton provide services for children, young adults and adults. For children, we assist families to access Early Intervention and advocate for students in Special Education. We ensure that individuals who need special education are receiving it and that schools are delivering IEP (Individualized Education Plan) services. We will advocate for residential placement when needed.

For young adults, we assist families with the transition from special education to adult services. We represent families in guardianship and conservatorship hearings to ensure the safety of their family member. We help determine and realize eligibility for adult services, including government benefits. During adult services eligibility determinations, we ensure that individuals are properly evaluated.

For adults, our attorneys represent clients whose loved one has been denied or not prioritized for adult services. We advocate for their initial eligibility for government benefits (SSI, Mass Health) as well as for their continued eligibility for those benefits. If an individual with a disability receives a settlement or inheritance, we develop a plan to maintain benefits. Together with their families, we help develop housing plans for their child with a disability, and estate plans to reassure parents that their loved one will be cared for after the parent’s death.

Special needs trusts a specialty

Our attorneys are experienced in all aspects of supplemental needs trusts. Whether your goal is to maintain your family member’s eligibility for government benefits or to ensure they are cared for after your death, our attorneys can craft a supplemental needs trust to fit your needs. This includes administering the trust on behalf of families, generating tax returns and accountings, while also ensuring that no distribution will put the beneficiary’s eligibility at risk.

Once a trust is created we can continue to work with our clients as a professional trustee. When named as a professional trustee, our firm can provide the support and maintenance that is required of a trustee of a special needs trust.

Successful results for our clients
  • An individual with a disability was about to become the trustee of his own trust, created by his grandparents. Becoming a trustee, however, would disqualify him for government benefits, including health insurance. We worked with the client to draft a supplemental needs trust that ensured his continued eligibility for government services while also ensuring that his inheritance would be used for his benefit.
  • A child with autism had consistently been denied special education services through an IEP (Individual Education Plan). Our attorneys presented a new argument to the school, established an IEP, and the child received the required services.
  • An individual with a disability was due to receive a large lump sum payment for underpayment of SSI (Supplemental Security Income). We created a trust to receive these funds for the individual’s benefit, but also preserved government services and supports eligibility.
  • A girl had been negligently injured as a child and was about to receive a large award for her injuries. We assisted the family by creating a supplemental needs trust to receive these funds for her benefit while also ensuring that she would be eligible for government services.
Hosted on the FirmWise sm Platform.