Special Needs Planning & Guardianships

Monday, June 5, 2017

Mia and Michael Lahti Receive a Prestigious Award for Their Pro Bono Work

By Stephen T. O’Neill

On Thursday, May 25, 2017 Mia and Michael Lahti were honored by the Bristol County (Massachusetts) Bar Association at the Association’s annual dinner held at the Venus de Milo Restaurant in Swansea, Massachusetts.

During the evening, Mia and Michael received the 2017 Pro Bono Publico Award.  This was given to them “In recognition of their outstanding contribution of legal services to ensure access to justice for poor and low income residents of Bristol County, Massachusetts.”

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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Special Needs Trust Fairness Act Corrects an Error in the Law

By Michael T. Lahti

On December 14, 2016, President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act. The package included the long-awaited Special Needs Trust Fairness Act, which corrects an error in the law that presumes that all persons with disabilities lack the mental capacity to handle their own affairs.  Reps. Glenn “GT” Thompson (R-PA) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ) along with Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) worked diligently to ensure this common sense fix became law.

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

An ABLE Update

By Michael T. Lahti

Recently I blogged about the new Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (“ABLE” Act).  This is a new law, and we are still exploring how ABLE accounts will be used. Two developments will have an impact on this; the first would be the federal government adopting regulations implementing the new law, and the second would be the states actually creating ABLE accounts. Although regulations will be forthcoming, we do not expect them anytime soon.

It will be interesting to see how this evolves, especially for people who live in states that do not enact an ABLE plan, as the ABLE Act is limited to the state where the person with a disability lives.  But, assuming that the state you live in does enact an ABLE account, we have provided some examples to identify specific issues that may arise.

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Monday, December 22, 2014

New Tax-Free Saving Plan for Individuals Who Suffered Significant Disabilities Before The Age of 26

By Michael T. Lahti, Esq.

Senate Retroactively Renews Tax “Extenders” and Votes in “Able Act”

The Senate, on December 16, 2014, passed legislation to retroactively renew expired tax extenders through the end of 2014, and to authorize disabled individuals to set up section 529 savings accounts for living expenses such as housing and education. The Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014 (H.R. 5771) now goes to President Obama for his signature. The bill includes the text of the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act. The Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (“ABLE Act”) would allow states to establish and operate an ABLE program under which idividuals who suffered a "significant disability" before the age of 26 would be able to open a section 529 savings account. This will enable them make annual contributions up to the gift tax exclusion limit, which is $14,000 for 2014 but is adjusted for inflation each year.

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