Winthrop, Maine 1-800-273-5200

Caregivers and Planning for the Future

Planning the future care of your loved one with autism to ensure supervision, security, and quality of life requires a care plan with a sound legal and financial foundation.
The purpose of a special needs estate plan is to ensure the economic security and ongoing well-being of your family member, even when you’re no longer able to assume that responsibility. 

Future Planning - Autism Society of America 

Guardianship: Guardianship is a potential issue at three points throughout your child’s life: while a minor, upon reaching the age of 18 and upon your death.
Government Benefits and Special Needs Trust: The financial security of many individuals with autism depends upon public benefits as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Special Needs Trust (SNT):  In order to qualify for certain government benefits, an individual with disabilities must meet stringent standards for financial need.
Letter of Intent (LOI):  While not a legal document, the letter of intent is essentially a roadmap providing guidance to guardians, trustees and others on how to care for your child when you are no longer able to fill that role. It includes medical, financial, legal and personal details, as well as your intentions concerning your child’s lifestyle. 
Powers of Attorney: If guardianship is inappropriate for your adult child, you may wish to consider less intrusive alternatives that name agents responsible for specific types of decision-making. Learn more about healthcare proxies, financial powers of attorney and educational powers of attorney.
Will: A will details your wishes concerning the disposition of your property upon death. It establishes what portion of your estate should be allocated to your child with disabilities and other heirs, and whether or not certain funds should be held by an SNT.

Find a special needs attorney near you, click here

Caregiver Aging Preparation Tips, by Cheretta Clerkley, ASA (2018)

ENABLE Special Needs Planning: Create a plan that enables your child with special needs to live a great life.

Tips for Caregivers of those with Autism by Tulika Prasad, Autism Support Network


Maine - Guardianship

If you are seeking information on adult guardianship, conservatorship, or alternatives to guardianship, please check out Maine's Guardianship/Conservatorship: Questions and Answers Guide 

Special Needs Attorney:
Miles Hunt - Epstein & O'Donovan  
Portland, ME (207) 772-4100

Patrica Nelson Reade 
Portland, ME  (207) 828-1597

Supported Decision-Making (SDM) is a series of relationships, practices, arrangements and agreements designed to assist an individual with a disability to make and communicate to others decisions about their life.
Disability Rights Maine: Supported Decision-Making 
SDM Handbook (Word)     SDM Handbook (PDF)  

CLASSES on Supported Decision Making:  Trainings offered by OADS

How Do I Know if My Child Needs a Guardian?  Autism Parenting Magazine

Respite Care
NAMI Maine Family Respite program, email us at or call (207) 622-5767

Support Groups Listing in Maine

Please call ASM with questions you may have: 
Autism Society of Maine 1-800-273-5200 or