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About the Special Needs Forum

How it Started

Everyone who receives the news that a loved one has been diagnosed with a special need ends up coping somehow.  When Julia Nickerson's family learned that her nephew is autistic, she was a young estate planning attorney.  She helped families, mostly very affluent families, plan their estates.  She knew nothing about special needs planning, special needs trusts or means-based government benefits.  A few years later Julia's brother had a second child, a girl—and the family learned she has cerebral palsy.  As part of Julia's coping with the diagnoses of her niece and nephew, she decided to learn all she could about estate planning for families who have a special needs loved one.

The First Live Event

Julia soon realized that families—very smart families— did not even know about very important legal and planning issues that need addressing.  After helping hundreds of families with special needs legal planning, Julia decided the knowledge she had gained had to be shared.

Julia, along with other partners who are dedicated to providing services to the special needs industry, hosted the first free Special Needs Forum live event in 2013 in Austin, Texas.  After three years of presenting free live events throughout central Texas, we learned that the live events were not enough. People craved for more—more information, more guidance, and more community forums.  They asked for online tools and resources.

Our Mission

The Special Needs Forum's mission is to educate the special needs community and empower families to take action by planning ahead in a smart way.

What's Next

While Austin, Texas is a great place—Special Needs Forum needs to be in all cities across America.  We are building a program of Local Partners, to bring Live Events throughout the United States.  If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a Special Needs Forum Local Partner, please reach out and we will help you help the special needs community.