Sisters Sticking Together

How one family bought a home for their daughter with a special needs trust

"עס נאָר געמאכט חוש.”

שוועסטער לעבעדיק צוזאַמען
מרים און קאַטרינאַ סטשוואַנקע זענען שוועסטער וואס לעבן ינדיפּענדאַנטלי אין דער זעלביקער היים.

That’s how Mary Schwanke, sister to Katrina, described the decision to purchase a home and live together. Katrina, 32, has Down syndrome and has lived at home with her parents, Don and Kathy, all her life. Mary is single and ready to move into a permanent home after years of apartment living.

"מיר געוואוסט קאַטרינאַ דארף אַ היים פֿאַר די לאַנג טערמין, און מיר ניטאָ ניט געטינג קיין יינגער," האט געזאגט קאַטי ווען געפרעגט וועגן די באַשלוס צו נאָכגיין היים אָונערשיפּ. "מרים און קאַטרינאַ האָבן שטענדיק געווען נאָענט, און קאַטרינאַ געוואלט מער זעלבסטשטענדיקייַט.”

Starting the process

The Schwankes sought professional advice to learn what it would take to set up an LLC. This allowed them to purchase a home for Katrina and Mary without jeopardizing Katrina’s special needs trust, Medicaid, or Social Security benefits.

They hired financial adviser James Traylor in Rochester, NY. Traylor introduced the family to the process, which gave the Schwankes options to provide independent housing for Katrina. The process took about six months and required a financial investment from Katrina’s parents and Katrina via her special needs trust.

די טריט אַרייַנגערעכנט:

    • געפינען אַ היים
    • Set up an LLC to protect Katrina’s special needs trust, and for liability protection to the Schwankes should an accident occur on the property
    • Apply for Family Support Services funding, which assisted with moving and home set-up expenses
    • Apply for a mortgage with a bank that was open to working with the Schwankes for a special needs home-buying scenario

Think about options

While not a solution for all, Don expressed that families of individuals with a disability should think broadly and look into options that might not make sense at first. “We were skeptical of hiring a financial adviser at first, thinking it would be too expensive,” said Don.

"אבער, מיר געלערנט אַז הירינג אַ נאַלאַדזשאַבאַל ייצע-געבער געגעבן אונדז אינפֿאָרמאַציע און אָפּציעס אַז מער ווי באַצאָלט פֿאַר זיך, מיט בענעפיץ אַז פאָטאָ די פיז.”

Mary Schwanke is the Manager of Respite and Family Support Services at ARISE CNY and serves on the LIFEPlan Member and Family Council