Posts tagged with "East Haven"

Special Needs Trust

Protecting Your Children With a Special Needs Trust

A special needs trust is a legal document that allows an individual with a disability or special needs receive financial support while protecting their eligibility for government benefits.  The trust is like a container that holds money and assets of a person with disabilities or special needs. The trust can protect this money so the individual can receive extra support while keeping their government benefits intact.

Highlights of a Special Needs Trust

  • What Is a Trust: A special savings plan for people with disabilities or special needs.
  • How Does a Trust Work:  A trusts and estate lawyer sets up the trust, puts money in it, and chooses a person to manage it called a trustee.
  • Who Benefits From A Trust: The person with a disability or special needs is called a beneficiary of the trust.
  • Why Is A Trust Important: People with disabilities who receive government benefits can protect their savings and still not lose their government help.
  • What Kinds of Trusts Are There: Trusts differ based on where the money in the trust comes from such as savings or money from a relative like a grandparent.

How a Special Needs Trust Is Used

Parents getting divorced who have a child with special needs might consider a special needs trust. The money in trust can be used to pay for things that improve the beneficiary’s life such as medical expenses, education, travel, entertainment, and more. The money cannot be given directly to the beneficiary for things like rent, because that might affect their government benefits. The essence of the trust is to ensure their loved one with disabilities continue to receive crucial assistance while still being allowed additional financial support.

How Does It Work?
  1. Trust Creator (Grantor): Someone, often a family member, sets up the trust for the benefit of a person with a disability. This person is called the grantor.
  2. Trustee: A trustee is the person chosen to manage the trust. This person could be a family member, friend, or a professional.
  3. Funds and Assets: Money, property, or other assets are put into the trust by the grantor. These assets belong to the trust and managed by the trustee.
  4. Beneficiary: The person with special needs is the beneficiary. The trust is meant to improve their quality of life by providing extra financial help.
Why Is It Important?

Government aid programs like Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) help people with disabilities. A disabled person who has too much money or assets in their name could lose access to crucial programs. Money and assets in a special needs trust do not count against the person when they apply for government benefits. This protection allows them to get the help they need from government resources. Always seek legal advice to set up a trust properly according to the specific laws in your area.

In Conclusion

A special needs trust should be considered when you are contemplating divorce or in the process of a divorce. The special needs of children should never be overlooked in a divorce settlement. Maya Murphy, P.C. specializes in trusts and estates as well as education law, and divorce and family law. Special needs trusts must be prepared properly to protect assets and benefits for people with learning challenges and disabilities.

Written by Attorney Mediator Susan Wakefield

If you have any questions or would like to speak to one of our skilled professionals about setting up a special needs trust in your divorce, please contact Maya Murphy, P.C. at (203) 221 – 3100 or via email at or Our firm offers free consultations in person or video conference to discuss your trusts and estates matters, divorce, or other matters we handle here at Maya Murphy.





You and your spouse have decided to divorce. Mediation is your choice. You agree not to litigate. The next step is to choose a mediator who is qualified and a good fit for you and your spouse.  Working with the right divorce mediator is an important decision that can greatly influence the outcome of your divorce process. Here are some factors to consider when selecting a divorce mediator in Connecticut.


Research divorce mediators in your area. You can use online directories, legal associations, and recommendations from friends or family who have been through a similar process. You can look at recent reviews. However reviews should not be the main reason to choose a mediator. People have opinions based on their own personalities and needs including financial resources. A mediator might not be a good fit for one couple, but a great match for another. The best way to pick your mediator is to meet with several and get a sense of their personality and style. You will know when it is right fit- just go with your gut. Hopefully, you and your spouse will find the same mediator acceptable.


A mediator must have a strong understanding of Connecticut divorce laws and mediation training. The mediator’s knowledge helps guide the mediation process. A mediator will help you reach legally sound agreements. Check credentials, such as the mediator’s training, certifications, and years of experience. Most divorce mediators offer free consultations. When you meet the mediator, ask about their experience. Ask the mediator how many years have they been mediating. You can ask the number of couples they have worked with during their career. Keep in mind that years of experience is not always the defining criteria. Some new mediators will have a fresh outlook and more up to date on new methods and continuing education in the field of mediation.


Read reviews or testimonials from past clients if available. You can also ask the mediator for references from clients who have worked with them in the past. It is important to read reviews; however there are times when one spouse may not be happy with the outcome of the mediation process.


A good divorce mediator will be a good listener. During your initial consultation, pay attention to eye contact and if the mediator is attentive and listening to you while you are speaking. You do not want a mediator who seems distracted or interrupts you or your spouse while you are talking. The consultation is the time when you get to talk, ask questions, and gather information. So you and your spouse should also be good listeners to ensure you make the most of the time with the mediator and can recall the information you receive after the consultation is over.


Reviews are only one factor to consider. Meet the mediator. Make your own decision on other factors and your initial impression. Is the mediator friendly, likeable, and attentive? Is this a person you feel you can work with? A successful mediation process relies on a good rapport between you, your spouse, and the mediator. Consult several mediators to assess their communication style, approach, and how comfortable you feel working with them. Discuss the mediator’s approach and the process they follow. Understand how they handle disputes, facilitate communication, and guide the negotiation process.


Ensure that the mediator you choose is truly neutral and impartial. The mediator must remain impartial and not give the appearance they have taken sides. Check for any conflicts of interest between you, your spouse, and the mediator. You want to ensure the mediator is not going to take sides or favor one spouse over the other. Remember, mediators are just people and have their own biases and life experience that could impact their impartiality.


Understand the mediator’s fee structure upfront. The majority of divorce mediators in the state of Connecticut charge an hourly rate and require an initial retainer payment. Clarify any additional costs that might arise during the mediation process.


Mediation relies on open communication. Ensure that the mediator emphasizes confidentiality, so you can freely discuss matters without fear of those discussions being used against you later in court.


Consider the location of the mediator’s office and whether it’s convenient for both you and your spouse to attend sessions.


Ultimately, trust your instincts when choosing a mediator. If something doesn’t feel right or you don’t have confidence in a mediator’s abilities, it might be better to explore other options.


Remember that the choice of a divorce mediator can greatly impact the mediation process and the outcome of your divorce. Take the time to do your research, ask questions, and make an informed decision that will benefit both you and your spouse in the long run. If you choose divorce mediation, it is also recommended to consult an independent divorce attorney. Even in divorce mediation, it’s wise to consult with an attorney before making any final agreements. A legal professional can review the proposed agreements to ensure they align with your best interests and the current laws in Connecticut.

By: Attorney Mediator Susan Wakefield

If you have any questions or would like to speak to a divorce attorney or divorce mediator about divorce mediation or a family law matter, please contact one of our skilled divorce attorneys and divorce mediators at Maya Murphy, P.C. at (203) 221-3100, or email Maya Murphy offers free consultations to discuss divorce, and all other family law matters.