special needs

un security council

UN Security Council Resolution Vote to Protect People with Disabilities in Conflict and War

UN Security Council Resolution 2745

This is an appropriate time to revisit UN Resolution 2745, passed and adopted on June 20, 2019. With the war in Ukraine raging on as well as in past and future worldwide conflicts, we hear so little about the rights of people with disabilities and their humanitarian needs.

The Polish response on June 26, 2019, to the resolution, summarizes the main goals of this very overlooked issue. Speaking after the adoption, Joanna Wronecka (Poland) welcomed the Council’s strong support for the first-ever resolution on “this important but often overlooked” issue.  She noted that, since the beginning of negotiations, Council members have had three main goals. the first goal is strengthening data‑collection and reporting on persons with disabilities in conflict. The second goal is building capacity and knowledge on the rights of persons with disabilities among peacebuilders and peacekeepers. The third goal is empowering persons with disabilities in conflict and post-conflict situations.  Joanna Wroncka expressed hope that the resolution will bring significant changes for persons with disabilities, ensuring they will no longer be left behind.

The purpose of this blog entry is to address the humanitarian needs of people with disabilities in conflict and war zones.

Should I leave a Co-op or Condo to a Person with Special Needs?

Why is real estate often overlooked in special needs planning?

Special needs planning is difficult. Now add the idea of when, where, how, and with whom a dependent resides. Some of the obstacles to a housing plan are the cost of a condo or co-op, location, timing, ownership, and whether to include other families in addition to the uncertainty of when a dependent is ready to move.

Who to have the housing conversation with?

At Stuart Flaum Advisors, we have conversations and arrive at solutions with families regarding housing and apartment ownership. Thank you, Ronda Kaysen, ESQ for your recent insightful comments in the NY Times Real Estate Section. Apartment ownership is very important in special needs planning. We agree with your assessment. We recommend families arrive at the same conclusion regarding co-op and condo ownership for people with special needs.

This is a real example of an apartment purchase for a person with special needs:

Q: My spouse and I purchased a studio apartment in a New York City co-op for our adult son, who has special needs and is able to live independently with the support of an agency. We recently asked the co-op board to allow us to transfer the property to an irrevocable trust so that when we die he will still have a place to live. The board denied our request. Now we are in a quandary. Our son cannot inherit property directly or he will no longer be able to receive the government benefits that support him. How do we manage this situation?

A: Parents can leave a co-op apartment to their children in their will or in trust — but that doesn’t mean their heirs will necessarily end up with the right to own or live in that apartment.

In most cases, a co-op board has enormous latitude to approve or deny the transfer of the shares and the proprietary lease. “And if they deny it, the apartment gets sold and the children get the equity,” said Mindy Stern, a partner in the Manhattan law firm SSRG who specializes in real estate, trusts, and estates. “Just because the will says ‘I’m leaving it to my kids,’ that doesn’t give them the absolute right to acquire the shares or live there.”

In some cases, the proprietary lease says that a board won’t unreasonably withhold consent to transfer the apartment to a financially responsible family member, “but few if any extend that concept to include trusts,” Ms. Stern said.

You could wait to have the situation resolved after your death, leaving clear directives to the executor of your estate about what to do should the board reject a request to transfer the property into a trust for your son. But that leaves everyone in a precarious position, with years of uncertainty ahead.

As an alternative, you could sell the co-op now, put the proceeds in a special-needs trust and buy a condo through that trust, moving your son at that point. Unlike co-ops, condos generally allow transfers within estate planning, without requiring approval. Although this course would involve significant upheaval, you’d have more peace of mind. Before you buy the condo, though, make sure an estate and trust attorney reviews the building’s rules on transferring the unit.

Special Needs Planning Financial, Legal and Health Records Management

I have received many e mails from people with disabilities and their families concerned over the Social Security Agency proposal to conduct more frequent disability reviews.

In addition, the governor of NY addressed a very significant issue last week that will affect people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In Governor Cuomos’ 2020 State of the State address last week in Albany, the governor intends to empower the state legislature to close the state medicaid deficit with an eye out for OPWDD.

The time has come for families and individuals to take a more active role keeping a lifetime of personal health records in HIPAA compliant virtual vaults. Your information must be organized and readily available for any disability reviews through the lifetime. One’s financial, legal and health special needs planning is under attack.

Be on the look out for the launch of SFC’s ‘s virtual vault for record keeping.

Coming soon.


In my role as a special needs planner, I have refrained from writing about a financial remedy concept called chalimony. Chalimony is a financial remedy concept which can impact special needs outcomes for families in which divorce is present or a non shared household.

For most of these families, child support and alimony are the traditional remedy. However, chalimony bridges the gap, and would be more effective in allocating the financial burden between payor and care taking parent.

In the spirit of systemic change in family law, chalimony increases incentives for both parents to advocate for changes in employment, education, childcare, and community practices that will make it possible for all people with special care needs to access the care they desire.

Learn more about chalimony and engage systemic change for our kids with special needs!

Happy Holiday and New Year