Barbara D. Jackins, Attorney
My name is Barbara Jackins. I have been an attorney for 40 years and a parent for over 30. In my law practice, I specialize in areas that affect families like ours: guardianship, public benefits, and estate planning, including special needs trusts. I also volunteer for several non-profit groups that assist people with disabilities and their families.
My background, personal experiences, and professional expertise can all benefit you and your family.
When it comes to planning for families like ours, there is no one-size-fits all—although there are some tried and true strategies that work much of the time. My goal is to help you develop a plan that will work for your family. To that end, I will give you accurate, objective information that is tailored to your personal situation. Some common questions that often come up are how to:
- Make sure your child will receive all government benefits that they may
be entitled to receive.
- Decide if your child will need a legal guardian at age 18.
- Maximize and protect the money you can pass on to your children.
- Choose the people who will assist your child when you are no longer able to do so. These could be guardians, trustees, agents, and others. If there is no one in your family to fill these roles, I can help you locate a professional.
- Name the correct beneficiaries for your life insurance policies and retirement accounts. (Tip: replace your child's name with the name of his or her special needs trust.)
- Plan for your own possible incapacity through appropriate legal documents.
In order to share the information I have learned over the years, I've written several books on disability-related topics. Most recently:
- Moving Out: A Family Guide to Residential Planning for Adults with Disabilities, which I co-wrote in 2013 with Dafna Krouk-Gordon (the founder and Executive Director of TILL), helps you prepare for the day when your adult child with a disability will move out of your home. We provide a lot of practical "how to" information and describe some challenging situations that can come up in residential living. You will get the agency's perspective (Dafna's) and the family's perspective (mine)..
- Legal Planning for Special Needs: A Family Guide to SSI, Guardianship, and Estate Planning in Massachusetts explains the SSI program, guardianship, and estate planning for parents of children with disabilities. The most recent edition is from 2017. Legal Planning is not a legal treatise—it is written in plain English. According to one reviewer, the book reads "like a conversation over coffee with a very good, knowledgeable friend."
- Managing a Special Needs Trust: A Guide for Trustees, which I co-authored with two colleagues (Ken Shulman and Richard Blank), tells you everything you need to know about managing a special needs trust for a person with a disability. It gives practical advice in easy-to-understand language for lay people as well as attorneys and other professionals. Some parents buy this book for their family member who will be managing their disabled child's special needs trust.
The home page has links to ordering information for all three books.
If you want to make an appointment, please contact me at 617-489-6140
I would enjoy meeting you!