Richard La Belle, Attorney

Sample Picture Here





Attorney, Richard La Belle, speaks about legal documents necessary to protect people who have disabilities. Richard is a parent of two children who have disabilities. He has over 20 years of experience practicing law. Richard uses easy to understand language, and keeps his focus on low-cost solutions to important legal issues.

Richard explains that "Full blown" or plenary guardianship is expensive, and that in many cases a cheaper alternative may be used.

Richard also discusses the benefits of special needs trusts, wills, power of attorney, and many other hot legal topics.

Richard La Belle

Planning Is Crucial: Why You Need To Be On Top of Wills, Trusts, and Guardianship.

Part One- Introduction
  • Introduction By Aaron Nangle
Part Two- Why You Need To Plan

  • Set up a plan for when you're not here. Keep this in mind.
  • Involve the whole family in the process
  • Understand the basics, but don't get lost in the details.
  • Keep an eye on the calendar- 18 is still a magic age.
  • Why you need a will.
Inexpensive, But Important Documents
  • Why you need a will (continued)
  • Part of a package, but, most importantly, it's best for you to make decisions, not a judge.
  • Living Will/ Advance Directives- take care of yourself, too.
  • Pre-need declarations of guardian.
  • Power of attorney- very useful.
  • It's better for you to make decisions about what you want, rather than others making decisions for you if you're not able to express yourself.
  • Terry Schiave Case- whole case was because she didn't have a living will and someone- a judge- had to decide what she would have wanted.
  • Why is this important? Because making these decisions is very, very rarely a decision to simply "pull the plug". It often involves withholding medications and/or food and water.
Part Four- Guardianship, and Alternatives
  • Living Wills (continued) Items to address in a Living Will- mobility assessment; cognitive assessment by several experienced professionals; swallowing assessments/therapy; assistive technology assessment; pursue cutting edge therapies/procedures/technologies.
  • "Full blow" or plenary guardianship Explained
  • Guardian of person/property Explained
  • Guardian Advocate Explained
  • Costs and other things to consider
Part Five- Alternatives To Guardianship and Special Needs Trusts
  • Is Guardianship Necessary?
  • Alternatives To Guardianship
  • Power of Attorney
  • Take steps to be ready for 18th birthday
  • Special Needs Trusts
  • More than 2,000 makes a person ineligible for benefits
  • Special Needs Trusts have only one simple purpose- to allow persons with disabilities to keep assets (property, money, etc.) and still qualify for public benefits. By using a special needs trust, a person with disabilities can avoid a "spend down" of their assets.
Part Six- Special Needs Trusts
  • Special Needs Trusts (continued)
  • If you leave a person with disabilities more than 2,000 they will lose their benefits until they "spend down" their money.
  • Avoid the need for a "spend down" with a special needs trust.
  • Special needs trusts are not a loophole or a gimmick. They are specifically authorized by Federal and state statues.
  • Why should I worry about this? I don't have any money.
  • A special needs trusts will protect your child's benefits.
  • Consider purchasing a life insurance policy to fund the trust. A simple term life insurance policy can be as low as $10 per month.
  • Creat a fund for when you won't be there- when your child will need it the most.
  • Think about the alternative of not setting up a trust. Your loved one with disabilities will end up, when you're gone, probably receiving enough assets to kick them off of their benefits.
  • The effort you put in on the front end will pay off in the benefit to the person with disabilities in the end.
Part Seven- Special Needs Trusts (Continued)
  • Start planning as soon as possible
  • You don't have to put a lot of money into a special needs trust. You can start with $10.00
  • What should be in the special needs trust?
  • Think of a trust as a tool to improve the quality of life of your loved one with disabilities.
  • Where do I start?
  • Why you should have an experienced attorney draft your special needs trust.
  • What type of special needs trust do I need?
  • Advance planning can preserve options so that more flexible trusts, like third party special needs trusts, can be used.
  • Once the money is in the hands of the person with disabilities, the only option is to use a type of "pay back" trust.
Part Eight- Choosing a Trustee and Trust Advisors
  • The choice of a trustee is vital. The trustee makes all the major decisions for the trust, including how and when the money in the trust is invested and spent.
  • You can't buy trustworthiness. The trustee should be trustworthy beyond question.
  • Spending trust money on something that's not allowed by the government can result in the person with disabilities losing their benefits.
  • "Trust Advisors" or "Trust Protectors" help insure that the person with disabilities has the highest quality of life possible.
Part Nine- About My Organization, How We Can Help You.
Part Ten- The First Florida Pooled Trust
  • How to Join The Pooled Trust
  • Why the Pooled Trust Works
  • The pooled trust is the only special needs trust option for those persons with disabilities over the age of 65. They cannot establish any other type of special needs trust with their own funds.
  • Closing
Presentation by: Rich La Belle
Executive Director of:
Family Network on Disabilities of Florida
(727) 523-1130
2735 Whitney Road, Clearwater, FL 33760
Get Listed!

Call Aaron Nangle at 727-841-8943 to find out how.

Waiver Providers, you can add your listing even if you don't have a website. We provide a free one page "web flyer" and free hosting, with your membership.

Not a publication of The Agency For Persons With Disabilities