Our Mission Statement: 'Empowering families to plan for their loved one with special needs by creating and preserving choices.'

Our values are a true reflection of who we are as a team and as an organization. We are proud to be committed to: 


  • Innovation and forward-thinking solutions.


  • Diversity and inclusion of all individuals regardless of race, ability, orientation, gender, or socioeconomic status.


  • Ethical decision making above all is at the center of who we are and what we do. Objectivity and fairness are daily principles we apply in our practice.


  • Accountability in both good and bad situations. We expect a level of self-awareness and a commitment to personal growth with members on our team.



We are professionals, parents, siblings, and advocates for those with special needs. When you call our office, you are speaking to someone on the other end of the phone that ‘gets it.’



With headquarters in downtown Rochester, NY we have proudly assisted over 450 families across New York State, in developing sustainable life care plans for their loved one. We are one of the only organizations in New York State that bridge the private sector and nonprofit worlds to create long term solutions for individuals with disabilities. Our specialty is in working with families who have loved ones in New York State that need comprehensive planning solutions. We take our clients through a thoughtful, personalized process to create and preserve options for the future. 

Proudly serving: Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse, Albany, Westchester, NYC Metro & Long Island. 



James is a sibling, advocate and professional who has focused his entire professional career in creating the organization of choice for families planning for a family member with a disability.  He is a national speaker and regularly provides continuing education for legal, financial and tax professionals on planning for an individual with a disability.  He is the immediate past Chair for the New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council, he is a member of the board of directors for the ARC of Monroe County, a member of the Estate Planning Council of Rochester and the Society of Financial Services Professionals (FSP), a graduate of Partners in Policymaking and is a 2009 Rochester Business Journal 40 Under 40 recipient.  He has also been honored as one of our nation's top investment advisors under 40 by Investment News magazine and is a 2020-2021 member of the Forbes Business Advisory Council. James has also earned the professional designations of a Chartered Special Needs Consultant (ChSNC), Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) and Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC).  When James is not working, he enjoys playing squash, traveling, cooking and spending time with his wife and son.

James Traylor

Founder & Senior Consultant


Nicole VanGorder

As Chief Operating Officer & VP of Client Relations, Nicole oversees all day-to-day operations and new client engagements for Upstate Special Needs Planning. A native of Buffalo, Nicole came to Rochester, NY to attend St. John Fisher College. Nicole has been in the financial industry for over a decade and has background in sales, recruitment, and management.

Outside of work commitments, Nicole is involved in her community. She serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for WXXI Public Media & the Little Theatre, Board of Directors for the YMCA of Greater Rochester and is a member of the Development Committee for the Rochester Museum & Science Center. Additionally, she oversees a social meet up group she created to connect young adults with special needs in the community called The Social Exchange.

Former leadership and involvement include: Vice Chair of the Mental Health Association of Greater Rochester, Secretary of the Board of Directors for the Villa of Hope, Vice Chair of Women In Financial Services (WIFS) Rochester, Co-Chair of Membership for the Genesee Valley Club. Chair, St. John Fisher College Alumni Board of Directors, Member Representative for RocCity Coalition, Volunteer with Rochester Young Professionals, Business Mentor for Rochester's Young Entrepreneurial Academy, and committee volunteer for the Al Sigl WalkAbout. 

Chief Operating Officer & Senior Consultant

*Certified Housing Navigator


Work Meeting

Ready to get started? Contact us below!

Thanks for submitting!