The Personal Impact of Special Needs
Reflecting on my own relationship with my brother, Liam, so much of who I am comes from being the sister of someone with special needs.
Amanda Lukof serves as Senior Vice President and Assistant General Counsel for Hope Trust, a technology company serving families affected by special needs. Amanda knows firsthand what it’s like to have a loved one with special needs. Her brother, Liam, is on the Autism Spectrum and has served as a source of inspiration for Amanda throughout her career. After graduating from Lafayette College in 2008, Amanda volunteered for Autism Speaks and co-founded the Autism Speaks to Young Professionals event series in New York City in 2009, with the goal of spreading awareness about autism to the next generation of parents. Amanda also served as Chairperson of Special Events for Newmark Education, a special needs school in Scotch Plains, New Jersey, where her brother was then a student. In all, Amanda’s efforts for these philanthropic causes helped to raise nearly $1.5 million. During this time, Amanda worked for Sotheby’s auction house before pursuing her legal degree at Fordham University School of Law, where she dedicated all of her clinical and internship experience to special education law. Following law school, Amanda spent nearly six years working for Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland & Perretti LLP, serving clients in the financial services industry, including one the Firm’s largest clients, UBS Financial Services Inc. Ultimately, Amanda’s passion for serving the special needs community led her to Hope Trust, which provides technology-based solutions for the long-term planning and daily management needs for families like hers.
For the 32MM US families that have a member with special needs, the number one question on parents’ minds is: What is going to happen to my child when I am gone? Answering this question is Hope Trust’s core mission. The Hope Trust app walks users through the creation of a care plan, a document that holistically details the daily life of the loved one with challenges. Their daily schedule, medical, legal, financial, and psychological needs are all documented in an easy-to-read report that can be shared with family members and/or caregivers, today and in the future. Through the app, the plan can be updated 24/7/365, so it is always up-to-date. After completing the care plan, the app also generates a custom third-party special needs trust, laying the groundwork for the family to plan for their loved one’s financial future. Hope Trust’s Meet Your Trust Objective (“MYTO”) tool determines the trust funding goal using the beneficiary’s budget and incorporating each client’s government benefits, allowing a Financial Advisor to deliver a tailored solution. In the near future, Hope Trust also plans to offer a full suite of concierge services to help families with special needs planning: bill pay, creating an IEP, finding doctors, group homes, rehab centers and more. Finally, Hope Trust can serve as trustee of a special needs trust, ensuring that services and support are provided throughout the beneficiary’s lifetime and that trust assets are used to proactively enhance the beneficiary’s life.