Category Archives: Guardianship Cases

April Is Autism Awareness Month – Celebrate and Support Those with Special Needs

Celebrate the talents of Special Needs Individuals

April is Autism Awareness Month, and those who have to live with Autism Spectrum Disorder (not to mention those who are caregivers for individuals with Autism) are blessed to have such an incredible outpouring of support and media attention currently. Many people throughout Monmouth County, where I live, participated in “Light It Blue” and put blue-tinted lights on their homes in support of Autism Awareness Month.

Many times, those on the outside looking in will focus on what individuals with special needs CANNOT do, rather than experience the many talents and gifts these individuals have. I have been blessed to meet individuals with many different diagnoses – from Aspergers and Austism to Down Syndrome and more – and each of them has a truly incredible talent to share. One autistic client wrote poetry that moved me to tears in his parents’ kitchen. Another autistic client drew pictures that would make Picasso jealous. A client with Down Syndrome painted incredible works of art.

This past weekend, my children and I participated in the Circle of Special Friends “Spring Fling” where individuals with special needs of all kinds and their caregivers let loose on the dance floor, ate pizza and cake, had their faces painted, and just generally had a great time. It’s too bad we couldn’t bottle the energy in that room!

What struck me most was when my young son and I got in the car, completely exhausted, and he said to me, “Mommy, I thought those kids would need my help, but nobody needed my help.” I had explained to him before we arrived about what it means to have special needs, and that he might need to help one of the partygoers. But he was right: they didn’t need our help, other than to help celebrate with them. They don’t need us to baby them – they need us to just be a friend.

Parents and caregivers of individuals with special needs also need our support. Sometimes it’s as simple as a long talk over a cup of coffee, but it can be more complex, like help with legal issues that will arise as they navigate the system. Take the time during this month to get to know an individual with special needs.

Your heart will be forever changed for the better.

For more information on autism or to learn about how you can help, visit the Autism Society and Autism Speaks.

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The Law Office of Nancy L. Holm, LLC, a New Jersey Limited Liability Company, is a full-service, general practice law firm located in Monmouth County, N.J., and serving clients in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. You can trust our integrity and commitment to your best interests when you have a legal problem. We offer a free consultation and reasonable rates, so that legal representation is available to everyone.

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Filed under Estate Planning, Guardianship Cases, Special Needs Children / Adults, Trusts

Updating Your Will

Update your will if you got married

Update your will if you got married

Life happens. Even if you have completed estate planning, it’s never really ‘done.’ Life is going to come along and make you re-do it.

So, I present, You Might Need to Update Your Will. (Read this in your head with a Jeff Foxworthy-type voice):

IF you had a baby,
YOU MIGHT NEED TO UPDATE YOUR WILL

IF you got married,
YOU MIGHT NEED TO UPDATE YOUR WILL

IF you got divorced,
YOU MIGHT NEED TO UPDATE YOUR WILL

IF you adopted a child,
YOU MIGHT NEED TO UPDATE YOUR WILL

IF you have a new grandbaby,
YOU MIGHT NEED TO UPDATE YOUR WILL

IF a relationship within your family has changed,
YOU MIGHT NEED TO UPDATE YOUR WILL

IF tax laws have changed,
YOU MIGHT NEED TO UPDATE YOUR WILL

IF your estate value has dramatically increased (or decreased),
YOU MIGHT NEED TO UPDATE YOUR WILL

IF you moved to a new state,
YOU MIGHT NEED TO UPDATE YOUR WILL

IF you retired,
YOU MIGHT NEED TO UPDATE YOUR WILL

IF you changed your investments,
YOU MIGHT NEED TO UPDATE YOUR WILL

These are just a few reasons that you might need to review your will with an attorney. I am just a phone call away, and maintain flexible office hours so that we can meet at your convenience. For most people, reviewing and revising wills is one flat fee. Call me (732) 444-6406 or email to schedule a meeting time.

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The Law Office of Nancy L. Holm, LLC, a New Jersey Limited Liability Company, is a full-service, general practice law firm located in Monmouth County, N.J., and serving clients in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. You can trust our integrity and commitment to your best interests when you have a legal problem. We offer a free consultation and reasonable rates, so that legal representation is available to everyone.

 

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Filed under Estate Administration and Litigation, Estate Planning, Guardianship Cases, Living Wills, Power of Attorney, Uncategorized, Wills

Practicing Guardianship Law

Sometimes, you set out down a path, thinking you are going one way, then your life takes you in a decidedly different way.  Sometimes, you set out on a path, and you don’t realize that the experiences in your life have made you particularly suited for the path you’ve taken.

Of course, the first statement has happened to everyone, and parents of special needs children absolutely can identify with it.  The second statement came to me as an “aha!” moment while preparing for trial in a guardianship case, when I was explaining to a colleague how I approach my guardianship cases as a court-appointed attorney.  What I had not realized until this discussion is that the personal experiences throughout my life have made me particularly suited for practicing Guardianship Law – especially those cases involving guardianship over developmentally disabled children.

As a young child, I participated in many events and outings with physically disabled children.  My aunt was a physical therapist who worked with children who had cerebral palsy.  She would take me with her to special events, and I gained a great appreciation and respect for both the children afflicted with this condition, as well as the struggles their families faced in dealing with their child’s disability.

As a young teen, I used my athletic ability to help others when I volunteered with the Special Olympics.  What struck me at that age was the emphasis by the parents and other adult volunteers to treat these children as if they had no disability at all – don’t talk down to them, don’t placate them, but instead, talk to them as an equal and hold them accountable as equals.  It seems obvious now, but I saw how easy it was to slip into the other behavior and mindset.  Since my time volunteering for Special Olympics, I have practiced that philosophy in my encounters with developmentally disabled children and adults.

What is amazing to me is how those experiences have now impacted my legal career.  While I started my career in a different field, I now find myself back in a position to help families with special needs children, just as I had as a young person.  Now I am in a position to help families in this situation in a more profound way.

Since January 2011, I have been involved in many guardianship cases involving special needs children as a court-appointed attorney.  What has impressed me with almost all of my cases so far is what I learn from each family – perseverance, kindness, and love.  Each of these families have had to deal with varying degrees of disability, economic hardships, and family crises, but each one has pulled together out of love for their special needs child.   That goes for parents and caregivers as well as siblings and extended family members.  In the face of such difficulty, where it would be incredibly easy to allow the situation to tear families apart, families come together and make it work.

Even though it took me a while to realize it, I believe that guardianship is the area of the law that I am particularly suited to practice.  I started my own law firm to help people, and in my mind, guardianship cases are the best example of how the law can do so.

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Filed under Guardianship Cases, Special Needs Children / Adults