Comprehensive Special Needs Planning

What is a Special Needs Trust?

A special needs trust helps ensure a higher quality of life for individuals with special needs by providing the means for financial support without making your loved one ineligible for the government benefits they need. This is an important piece of planning for your family member’s long-term well-being.

Many people believe that when it comes to special needs planning, a special needs trust is sufficient. However, protecting the interests of a loved one with a disability goes well beyond creating a trust and must take into account factors such as:

  • Government benefits
  • State services
  • ABLE (Stable) accounts
  • Knowledge of special education and 504 plans

Perhaps most importantly, special needs planning requires an in-depth and nuanced understanding of the unique needs of the individual and their family so that a plan is developed that not only preserves the individual’s access to care and services but also supports them in living their life to the fullest.

At The Law Office of Claudia I. Pringles, PLLC, we take a comprehensive approach to special needs planning, rooted in our personal experience with family members with special needs and informed by our extensive legal knowledge, including experience as a former special education law attorney. With our in-depth understanding of the nuances of special needs planning, we take the time to understand your situation and provide the information you need to create a special needs plan that fosters a good quality of life and provides lifelong protection for your loved one.

Trustee Services

Finding the right person to act as the Trustee for a special needs trust can be challenging for many families. While siblings may be the default choice, this can cause a host of challenges among family members, particularly if the sibling is not well-suited to the responsibilities of being a trustee. Outside of the immediate family, many people do not understand the complexities of navigating public benefits programs or the unique circumstances and challenges that individuals with special needs may face. For these reasons, the best choice is often a professional trustee.

At The Law Office of Claudia I. Pringles, PLLC, we provide professional and caring Trustee Services informed not just by our years of legal experience but also by our experience with our own family members who have special needs. We take the time to get to know you and the unique needs of your loved one so that we can advocate for their best interests.


If you have a loved one with special needs, it may be necessary to establish guardianship to help them manage their financial, medical, or other affairs.

As part of the estate planning process, it may also be necessary to appoint a future guardian to help care for your loved one with special needs when you are no longer here.

We can explain your options for legal guardianship and provide you with guidance and helpful information to consider when choosing a future guardian for your loved one.

Advocating for People with Disabilities and Their Families

We believe that people with disabilities should be a valued part of their communities. As such, we have been advocating for the broader disability community in Vermont since 2004. Learn more about our advocacy for people with disabilities and their families here.

Providing Special Needs Planning Legal Services Across Vermont

We provide legal services for clients across Vermont via telephone, Zoom, or in-person from our office located in Montpelier. Please schedule a consultation to discuss your next steps in special needs planning.

Serving all Vermont counties including Addison, Bennington, Caledonia, Chittenden, Essex, Franklin, Grand Isle, Lamoille, Orange, Orleans, Rutland, Washington, Windham, and Windsor.