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Special Voices assists families to plan for the future, including the making of a Will, to ensure the care and protection of their family member with intellectual disability.
I am a Melbourne-based disability lawyer. I specialise in solving the unique legal problems faced by parents and siblings of people with intellectual disability throughout their lifetime.
I have the expertise and empathy to guide your family to make a comprehensive Future Plan for your loved one, including the making of Trusts and Wills.
Particularly as they get older, the parents of a child with intellectual disability (let’s call the child ‘Mary’) are often plagued by worrisome thoughts like:
These thoughts may also bedevil the sibling or another family member of a person with intellectual disability, particularly if they are the primary carer.
I can guide you to make a comprehensive, workable Future Plan, including any necessary Trusts and Wills, to ensure the future care, protection and wellbeing of your child or family member.
Equip you with practical tools to ensure that you have carefully considered all aspects of your loved one’s financial, housing, health, care and decision-making arrangements, this being the critical first step to making a good Future Plan.
Develop a strategy to have those difficult conversations with your family about the future care and other arrangements of your child or family member with intellectual disability.
Advise on the various legal mechanisms for providing property and/or money to your child or family member during your lifetime or after you die. These include an Inter Vivos Trust, a Testamentary Trust, a Protective Trust and a Special Disability Trust.
Advise on what, if any, substitute or supported decision-making arrangements should be included in the Future Plan.
Draft documents such as Trust Deeds, Wills, Enduring Power of Attorney, Power of Attorney and Medical Treatment Orders and Directives that may form part of your Future Plan.
Ensure that your full wishes as to the care, protection and wellbeing of your child or family member in the future are expressed and implemented as far as possible.
Review and advise on any existing documents or arrangements you have in place, to ensure that they meet your family’s needs and reflect your wishes.
“Angela has recently assisted with the preparation of my Will and Codicil amendments.
Throughout this process Angela displayed a high level of professionalism and attention to detail, while delivering a great outcome that me and my whole family understand and are very happy with.”
It depends on your family’s unique circumstances and the capacity of your child to manage their own affairs. If they do not have capacity or have limited capacity, some good options are to set up a Protective Trust or Special Disability Trust in your Will. The Death Benefits from your superannuation fund may also be utilised to pay a regular pension to your child.
A Special Disability Trust (SDT) is a special type of protective trust expressly provided for in the Social Security Act 1991 (Cth). The purpose of an SDT is to provide for the care and accommodation of a person with a severe disability whilst minimising (even altogether) any impact on their Centrelink entitlements, such as their Disability Support Pension. The legislation also provides Centrelink exemptions to parents and siblings if they donate up to $500,000 into the SDT.
You should choose a Trustee who (ideally) knows the beneficiary, who is willing to take on the responsibility, and who has the skills and time to carry out the tasks of being a Trustee.
Yes. You can have more than one Trustee. You can decide if they must act jointly (must agree and act on all decisions in unison) or severally (one Trustee can make and act on a decision separately, and this will be binding on the Trust).
No. This is because the NDIS is not means or assets tested. It is a scheme that funds services, equipment and supports only; it does not provide income. There may be some indirect impact for the purposes of assessing what is ‘reasonable and necessary’ for the NDIS to fund. For example, if Mary’s inheritance in a protective trust is a residence for the child to live in, the NDIA may argue that in her situation, it is likely not ‘reasonable and necessary’ for the NDIS to pay for (some or all of) her housing. It is reasonable to expect her family, via the trust, to continue to provide her with the house as an ‘informal support’. [see 34(e), NDIS Act 2013 (Cth)].
How do I get Special Voices to help me and my family?
The first step is to book a free, no-obligation 30-minute consultation with me. We will talk about your problem and get to know each other.
I will send you a written proposal detailing how I can help you to solve your problem. This will include a fixed-fee quote for the proposed work (no hidden or surprise costs down the track).
We work together to solve your problem and achieve your desired outcome as quickly as possible.
Book a free, no-obligation 30-minute consultation to discuss your needs for future planning or a Will and how Special Voices can help.
Your details are confidential and won’t be shared with third parties.