Skip to Content
conference participants in large room at tables during presentation

2017 National Conference on Special Needs Planning and Special Needs Trusts - Agenda


Pre-Conference: Tax Intensive
Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017

8:50-9 a.m.
Welcome and Announcements

9-10:00 a.m.
Income & MAGI: An Update
James M. McCarten

10-10:15 a.m.
Break, visit with Sponsors and Exhibitors

10:15-11:15 a.m.
Trust Income, Trust Expenses and Calculating Distributable Net Income
You will leave this session knowing how to calculate trust income to the beneficiaries who receive distributions from the trust.
Bradley J. Frigon

11:15 a.m. -12:15 p.m.
What Beneficiaries Needs to Know about SNT Income and Taxation
This workshop will focus on the nuts and bolts of a beneficiary’s reporting income from Special Needs Trusts and the ensuing tax implications. Vincent will also discuss how trust income can be shifted to the beneficiary.
Vincent J. Russo

12:15-1:15 p.m.
Lunch, visit with Sponsors and Exhibitors

Level Key: (A) Administrative Level (AV) Advanced Level (B) Basic Level
1:30-2:30 p.m. | Breakout Session 1 

  • Managing Trust For Maximum Tax Efficiency (A)
    The way a trust is administered, the distributions that are made, and the timing of them all may have tax implications for the trust and the beneficiaries. This session will look at how to get the best tax treatment for a trust through the way it is managed.
    Hyman G. Darling
  • Tax Implications for Persons Creating and Funding Third-Party SNT (AV)
    This program will address the typical tax ramifications for a donor who creates and funds a lifetime 3rd-party SNT. Our presenter will examine some of the income tax and transfer tax implications for the creator and funder of a lifetime 3rd party SNT. The session will also address drafting to maximize income tax savings to third-party SNTs, and how a “network” of third-party SNTs can be an integral part of the donor’s comprehensive estate and gift planning.
    Kristen M. Lewis
  • Trusts: Simple to Complex (B)
    There are a lot of different types of trusts.This flexibility is one of the advantages of using a trust for many clients. This session will look at the various types of trusts from simple to complex.
    Robert B. Fleming

2:30-2:45 p.m.
Break, visit with Sponsors and Exhibitors

2:45-3:45 p.m. | Breakout Session 2

  • Magical Mystery Tour:  Naming a Special Needs Trust as Beneficiary of a Retirement Plan (A)
    Back by popular demand, this session will examine the required minimum distribution rules for Inherited IRAs, explain the Treasury Regulations related to accumulation trusts and conduit trusts and offer helpful drafting tips to assure to separate share and look-through treatment for your Special Needs Trust that will the recipient of retirement plan distributions.
    Dennis M. Sandoval (by video conference)
  • Tax Update (AV)
    This session will cover recent changes to the Tax Code, regulations and private letter rulings, as well as cover some cases of note that relate to planning for special needs and estate planning.
    Darryll Jones
  • Trusts and EINs: How To Do Your Filing (B)
    The most common question we get for this program is “does my trust need an EIN?” There’s more to know than the answer to that question. You also need to know how to fill out and file Form 1041. This session will walk you through the IRS treatment of trusts and how to file the annual return.
    James M. McCarten

3:45-4:45 p.m. | Breakout Session 3

  • Interplay of Tax and Eligibility Rules in 529 and ABLE Accounts (A)
    529 Plans and 529A plans (ABLE accounts) are programs in the Internal Revenue Code that allow a tax advantage to the donor. This session will look at the IRS rules regarding these plans as well as the eligibility rules for these plans.
    Stephen W. Dale
  • Saving Income Taxes with Qualified Disability Trusts (AV)
    This session will explain the qualified disability trust rules and provide case examples to illustrate potential tax savings to a beneficiary.
    Bradley J. Frigon
  • Why Don’t Special Needs Planners Know More Tax and Embrace What a Beautiful and Logical System it Represents? (B)
    Does the idea of tax make you break out in a cold sweat? Do you feel like the Tax Code is written in another language? This session will unravel the mystery that is the Tax Code and show the audience how the Tax Code is a logical system that once you break the code, will make perfect sense.
    Robert B. Fleming

4:45 p.m. Adjourn


Pre-Conference: Pooled Trusts Intensive
Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017

8:45-8:55 a.m.
Welcome and Announcements

8:55-9:55 a.m.
The Update
The number of proposals, discussions and changes regarding people with special needs and public benefits have been extensive. This session will look at the changes to public benefits programs, the POMS, HUD regulations, SSI, and more as we move into a new era of planning for individuals with special needs.
Neal A. Winston

9:55-10:15 a.m.
Break, visit with Sponsors and Exhibitors

10:15-11:05 a.m.
Hoarding 101
There’s a difference between hoarding and having your house filled with a lifetime of physical memories. This session will discuss the science of hoarding and offer suggestions for trustees on how to handle situations where beneficiaries hoard, including insurance and liability issues, and where to get help.
Matt Paxton

11:05-11:55 a.m.
Maintaining an Effective PSNT Organization Through Standards of Practice
Recently a group of PSNT administrators with a long and varied history of running a PSNT developed standards to help guide the development and operation of PSNTs. This session will review the standards, explain how to apply them in the day to day operation of a PSNT and the implications of the use of standards to the profession.
Stephen W. Dale, Ellen B. Nalven, Kerry Tedford-Coles

Noon-1 p.m.
Lunch, visit with Sponsors and Exhibitors  

Breakout Session Level Key: (A) Administrative (CM) Case Management (HI) Human Interest
1:15-2:05 p.m. | Breakout Session 1 

  • When a Beneficiary Has an Addiction: Dealing with the Beneficiary and Making Distribution Decisions. Is There a Time to Say No? (A)
    If the beneficiary has an addiction, the trustee is faced with difficult decisions. Should the trustee pay for treatment? How many times? What if the trustee says no? How do you talk to a beneficiary with an addiction? This session will feature a mental health counselor with expertise in addiction counseling and an attorney/PSNT trustee who has had first-hand experiences with these cases.
    Travis D. Finchum, Sarah Siegrist
  • What Every PSNT Trustee Needs to Know About HIPAA (CM)
    PSNT Trustees should be familiar with HIPAA because they may need or may be asked to produce protected health information. As well, trustees need to be prepared for questions such as can the trustee obtain medical and/or treatment information about the beneficiary, can a trustee be compelled by subpoena to produce pharmacy invoices to third parties, and more.
    Shirley B. Whitenack
  • Diversity and Cultural Differences: What PSNT Administrators Need to Know (HI)
    This session will discuss how diversity and cultural differences might impact a distribution request and decision, how a PSNT administrator can become culturally sensitive, correct interpersonal dynamics and outreach to underserved communities.
    Lily Ngo, Haley D. Greer

2:05-2:20 p.m.
Break, visit with Sponsors and Exhibitors

2:20-3:10 p.m. | Breakout Session 2 

  • Changing Times, Changing Climate: How to Keep Your Organization Relevant (A)
    This session will cover a number of topics important for PSNT organizations to stay relevant, including diversification of income streams, marketing to your strengths, PSNT serving as Trustee or Trust Protectors and more.
    Barbara Helm, Ellen Nalven
  • Tax Issues for PSNT Organizations (A)
    Taxation of trusts is especially important for trust administrators. Add on the need to know tax laws that apply to employees, and it’s clear that PSNT administrators need to know about tax issues affecting SNTs. This session will provide an overview of the most relevant tax issues.
    Hyman G. Darling
  • What Makes a Good Investment Advisor? (CM)
    In this session, Will Lucius, the head of SNTs for Raymond James, will offer tips to PSNT administrators on how to choose an investment advisor for their PSNT.
    William D. Lucius

3:15-4:05 p.m. | Breakout Session 3 

  • Implementing the UTC for PSNTs (A)
    Are you in a state that’s adopted the UTC? If you aren’t, are you wondering, what’s the big deal? Come to this session to learn about the UTC and how it affects the creation and administration of PSNTs.
    Shirley B. Whitenack
  • Hoarding 202 (CM)
    Hoarding is a multi-faceted issue with no easy solution.  In this session Matti Paxton, host of the popular televisionseries, Hoarders and co-founder of Legacy Navigators will offer detailed led insigtes to hoarding, communiciating with hoarders and options for turstees, care managers and others who work on a daily basis to find and fund options and solutions.
    Matt Paxton
  • It Can Happen to You, if You Aren’t Prepared - Theft and Embezzlement of a PSNT: Prevention and Responses. (HI)
    This session will use a case study to show how an employee of a PSNT can steal assets from the PSNT. Using a case study, this session will illustrate how such theft might be prevented, and the actions to take if the theft does occur.
    Haley D. Greer

4:20-5:10 p.m.
Cyber Security Protections for PSNT Organization

This session will examine cyber security protections that are most appropriate for PSNT organizations, policies every organization should have in place, a protocol for assessing the cyber security posture of third party vendors, and key considerations regarding the purchase of cyber insurance.
Colonel John R. Burger, U.S. Army (retired)

5:10 p.m.

Pre-Conference: Veterans Benefits Intensive
Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017

Noon-12:30 p.m.
Lunch on your own

12:25 - 12:30 p.m.
Welcome and Announcements

12:30 – 1 p.m.
The Veterans Court: Overview, New Initiatives and Cases of Note
Chief Judge Davis will provide an overview of the court, new initiatives the court is undertaking and discuss recent cases of notes that all veterans advocates should know.
The Honorable Robert Davis, Chief Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims

1-4 p.m.

VA Benefits Overview for Accreditation

  • Ethics in representing Veterans before the Veterans Administration 
  • Representation before the VA
  • Hearing and Appeals Process 
  • Benefits (Eligibility, Disability Compensation, Dependency and Indemnity Compensation & Pensions) 

This session offers the topics required for an attorney seeking accreditation under 38 C.F.R. § 14.629(b).
Honorable Michael P. Allen and Stacey-Rae Simcox

4-4:10 p.m.

4:10-5:40 p.m.
Special Needs Planning and Veterans Benefits: There are a Number of Ways that SNTs and Veterans Benefits (or even active duty personnel benefits) Intersect
In this session we will examine (1) the active duty personnel with injuries in the line of duty (is it possible to have injories not in the line of duty) (2) active duty personnel with a family member with special needs, (3) a veteran with special needs that are not service-connected and (4) a veteran with a family member with special needs. We will cover what veterans’ benefits, if any, are available in these scenarios and when the use of a SNT or ABLE account might be recommended.
Michael P. Allen and G. Mark Shalloway

5:40 p.m.


2017 National Conference on Special Needs Planning and Special Needs Trusts

Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017

7:30 – 8:30 a.m.
First Time Attorney Attendees Breakfast: Ethics in SNT Client and Engagement Agreements
Are you an attorney new to Special Needs Planning? Then this basics ethics session is just what you need. Professor Flowers will over an interactive session that covers how you identify your client and what you should put in your engagement agreement. Seating is limited to the first 140 attorneys to register for this session so don’t delay!
Roberta K. Flowers

8:30-8:40 a.m.
Welcome and Announcements

8:45-9:45 a.m.
Evolution of Special Needs Trusts
Using SNTs in times of change: the fundamental SNT benefits are still relevant today, and why. When planning for an individual with special needs, we have seen a lot of changes over time. However, SNTs today, even in this time of change, remain relevant. Public Benefits may change but the fundamental advantages of a SNT as a planning tool are still important. This session will examine the elements of a (d)(4)(A), (d)(4)(C) and third-party SNT and explain why these SNTs still are an important planning tool.
Craig C. Reaves

9:45-10:05 a.m.
Break, visit with Sponsors and Exhibitors

10:05-11:05 a.m.
Intake: What to Ask, Why, and How to Get the Information (and how it correlates to the law)
When you first meet with a client, whether you are an attorney or a trustee, you need to ask the client a lot of questions and get a lot of information. Whether you use an intake sheet sent to the client ahead of time, use an intake sheet during the interview, or just take notes, during the interview, there is a reason you are asking what you are asking. This session will discuss what you should ask your client, why you ask it, how to best obtain the information and the correlation between the law and the questions you are asking. The two presenters will also share portions of intake sheets that are used by experienced attorneys in the field.
Robert B. Fleming, Janet L. Lowder

11:05 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Special Needs Planning With ABLE Accounts
We have been talking about ABLE accounts for three years now. ABLE accounts have broadened the options available to planners. In this session we will examine the use of ABLE accounts in developing a plan, how they work in conjunction with SNTs and other tools.
Mary Alice Jackson, Craig C. Reaves

12-1 p.m.
Lunch, visit with Sponsors and Exhibitors

Breakout Session Level Key: (A) Administrative Level (AV) Advanced Level (B) Basic Level

1:15-2:05 p.m. | Breakout Session 1 

  • The When, Whys and Hows of Terminating Trusts (A)
    There are a number of reasons why a SNT should be terminated. When this is the case, there are a number of considerations, including the reasons for terminating the SNT, when to terminate it, how to terminate the SNT, how to deal with the state Medicaid agency and what happens to the balance in the trust.
    Allison Bren Ferris, Imtiaz Jindani 
  • Educating Your Court on Special Needs Planning (AV)
    In cases where your judge has to approve the SNT, it may be necessary for you to educate your judge on special needs planning and SNTs. When it comes to learning about the niche area of special needs planning, menos, power points and pleadings are all good sources of information for judges and their staff. What is the most effective and efficient way to educate the judiciary? This session will examine the most common ways practitioners today are educating judges on special needs planning and provide sample materials to incorporate into your practice. 
    Elizabeth Rollings
  • SNT First-Party Practice Systems (B)
    There are a lot of moving parts to creating, funding and implementing a First Party SNT. Having a practice system in place can make you more efficient as well as provide checks and balances. This session will look at the steps you need to take, and the systems to have in place for a first-party SNT.
    Crystal West Edwards, Jane Skelton

  2:05-3:05 p.m. | Breakout Session 2 

  • SNT Beneficiaries on the Move: Issues With SNT “Portability” (A)
    This program will address the top ten issues presented when a SNT beneficiary relocates to a new state. Moving a SNT beneficiary from one state to another isn’t simply a matter of physical relocation; the trustee must also consider the “portability” of the SNT. The discussion will address the impact of such a relocation on the beneficiary’s access to government benefits in the new state; the transferability of an existing guardianship between states; substantive differences in state laws governing Medicaid payback obligations in first-party SNTs (and the disposition of any SNT assets remaining after the satisfaction of the payback); different standards of SNT review and approval by state authorities; the ability to modify SNTs to comport with the laws of the new state without court involvement; and other move-related issues. Using case examples, the presenters will discuss the myriad issues raised by a proposed move, and how drafting in anticipation of a mobile beneficiary can facilitate such relocations during the term of the SNT. Kristen M. Lewis, Janet L. Lowder
  • Saving Income Taxes with Qualified Disability Trusts (AV)
    This session will explain the qualified disability trust rules and provide case examples to illustrate potential tax savings to a beneficiary.
    Bradley J. Frigon
  • SNT Third-Party Practice Systems (B)
    There are a lot of moving parts to drafting a third party SNT, whether intervivos or testamentary. You need to ensure you know who is your client, that you have the right information, you have to draft and determine how the trust will be funded. Having a practice system in place for any estate plan you draft will make you more efficient as well as provide checks and balances. This session will look at the steps you need to take, and the systems to have in place for a third-party SNT.
    Crystal West Edwards, Jane Skelton

3:05-3:20 p.m.
Break, visit with Sponsors and Exhibitors

3:20-4:10 p.m. | Breakout Session 3 

  • Talking to Young Parents About Special Needs and Financial Planning (A)
    Parents with a child with special needs should start planning early for their child’s and their own financial security. This session will focus both on planning vehicles, including insurance, trusts, and ABLE accounts for middle class parents with children with special needs and on talking with young parents about the issues they will face when raising a child with special needs.
    Laurie Hanson
  • Helping Your Clients Develop Next-Generation Care Plans (AV)
    It’s important for the care plans for the individual with special needs take into account changes in the lives of the individual as well as the family or caregivers. This session will review how to talk to your clients about the need to develop a plan for the future, who should be the next-generation caregiver, and the importance of including siblings in the planning process.
    Benji Rubin (by video conference)
  • Preparing for the Unexpected: Best Practices for Unique Beneficiary Reactions (B)
    This session will offer tips for trustees and others who deal with beneficiaries on a regular basis. Do you have procedures in place when a beneficiary reacts with anxiety, anger, paranoia or other ways that may signal a dangerous situation? The session will also offer suggestions on how to approach difficult conversations with beneficiaries on topics such as gun ownership, saying no, and delivering bad news.
    Robert Pierce

4:15-5:05 p.m. | Breakout Session 4 

  • Beneficiaries in College (A)
    This session will examine what happens when a beneficiary goes to college. Is th beneficiary still eligible for public benefits, such as SSI? What if there are grants, scholarships or free tuition available? Is the beneficiary attending an inclusive post-secondary academy? What support and accommodations are provided for students with special needs. Is a college degree a substantial gainful activity? This session will cover all these topics as well as address why trustees and attorneys need to know more about higher ed and students with special needs.
    Michael Pierce, Aimee Stubbs 
  • More Difficult Distribution Questions (AV)
    Remember when you agonized over how to title a house purchased by the trust, who could go to Disneyland/World and what to do about car maintenance and insurance? Those were the good old days. The difficult distribution questions today are more complicated. What can the trust pay when the beneficiary is in college? What about medical marijuana, or escort services? Can alimony and child support be paid from the trust? How about using ABLE accounts for any of those expenses, or to subsidize housing? These are just some examples that will be covered during this session.
    Allison Bren Ferris, Robert B. Fleming, Neal A. Winston
  • Understanding Why the POMS Matter: Administrative Deference in Public Benefits Appeals (B)
    We have all heard how important the POMS are, especially when drafting and administering SNTs, and now with the courts relying on them more and more, we need to understand exactly what the POMS are and why they are given weight by the administrative law judges and the federal judges. In this session, Professor Lou Virelli will explain the concept of administrative deference, how the courts have defined the parameters of such deference, especially in the Chevron and Skidmore cases, what Congress is doing about this deference and why we need to know about it. Don’t miss this session-it will be entertaining and enlightening!
    Ken Brown, Louis J. Virelli III

5:05 p.m.

5:15-6:30 p.m.
Reception sponsored by the Renaissance Vinoy St. Petersburg Resort and Golf Club 

Friday, Oct. 20, 2017

8:30-8:40 a.m.
Welcome and Announcements

8:40-9:45 a.m.
Update from SSA (via video conference)
This annual update by videoconference from SSA Central Office in Baltimore will provide the audience with a chance to hear from those in SSA who develop SSI policies, specifically about potential future policy updates to special needs trusts, ABLE accounts, the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act, and other current issues relevant to special needs planning and planners. This presentation will try to answer the difficult questions and provide you with insight into how policy is created and carried out. 
Jennelle Bratcher (by video conference)

9:45-10 a.m.
Break, visit with Sponsors and Exhibitors

10-11 a.m.
What a Year and We’re Not Done Yet
This panel follows the presentation by Jennelle Bratcher. The panelists will offer their thoughts to the SSA update, their opinions on how to handle the changes to the POMS, suggestions on what to do when dealing with SSA, and answer your questions on specific situations you’ve encountered when dealing with SSA.
Panel: Ken Brown, Allison Bren Ferris, Robert B. Fleming, Neal A. Winston and Moderator Mary E. O’Byrne 

11 a.m. -12 p.m.
The 115th Congress, The New Administration and the Impact on Special Needs Planning
This session will provide up-to-date analysis and insight into the actions of the 115th Congress and suggestions on how to position your special needs planning practice.
Mary Alice Jackson, Vincent J. Russo

12-1 p.m.
Lunch, visit with Sponsors and Exhibitors.

Breakout Session Level Key: (A) Administrative Level (AV) Advanced Level (B) Basic Level
1:15-2:05 p.m. | Breakout Session 1 

  • Reformation and Estate Plans (A)
    Sometimes an estate plan needs to be changed, and that includes estate plans that include testamentary trusts, especially testamentary SNTs. Laws are specific on how to reform these trusts. This session will review when, why and how to reform a testamentary SNT.
    Amy Fanzlaw
  • Third-Party Special Needs Planning For Unmarried Couples (AV)
    Unmarried couples need to have an estate plan and when one of the couple has special needs, or a child of the couple has special needs, the estate plan becomes even more critical. The special needs planner needs to recognize the unique issues that go into developing a successful plan when the couple does not have the protection of marriage.  Family dynamics? Blended families? Children from a prior marriage? Learn how to draft to deal with all these issues and more.
    Crystal West Edwards
  • Siri-What Does SSI Mean? A Glossary Session (B)
    Do you speak “SNT”? Special needs planners use a lot of acronyms, so it is important for those new to special needs planning have the vocabulary of SNT, know the meaning of the acronyms and how they relate to special needs planning.
    Mary Alice Jackson

2:05-2:20 p.m.
Break, visit with Sponsors and Exhibitors

2:20-3:10 p.m. | Breakout Session 2 

  • The Supreme Court: Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District and IEPs (A)
    The Supreme Court ruled unanimously in March in favor of the plaintiff that the school board must provide an individualized education plan that is “reasonably calculated” to allow the student, based on her specific circumstances, to make progress. This session will discuss the Court’s ruling and offer suggestions on how to use it when advocating for an IEP for a beneficiary.
    Mark Kamleiter
  • Selecting the Trustee: Making the Right Choice (AV)
    Selecting the right trustee is the starting point for a successful administration. Should you select a trustee who can do everything or a trustee who will delegate certain duties to others (Query: what can be delegated)? Should the trustee use a distribution director, a financial advisor, or other professional? Should there be co-trustees, corporate trustee with individual co-trustee, trust protector or trust advisory committee? What does it mean to be a qualified trustee? In this session you will learn about the criteria to consider when selecting the appropriate SNT trustee.
    William D. Lucius
  • Drafting Clauses for First-Party SNT and Reading the POMS (B)
    When preparing to draft first party SNTs, those new to special needs planning need to read the POMS, understand the clauses required to be included and draft the clauses with the necessary provisions and the right language. Come learn how to do this!
    Laurie Hanson

3:20-4:05 p.m. | Breakout Session 3 

  • Immigration and Individuals without Status: An Immigration Law Update (A)
    What are the options for a trustee when a beneficiary’s parents do not have status? Does the trust pay for the parents to apply for legalization? What does the trustee do if the parents are deported? Are problems created if the trustee has been paying the parents for caring for the beneficiary? In this session Mr. Rios will update the audience on the status of the deportation efforts by the government and the options for the trustee when the parents or caregivers don’t have legal status.
    Arturo R. Rios, Stuart D. Zimring 
  • Alternative Planning Options for Individuals with Special Needs (AV)
    Special needs planning is not a one size fits all proposition.What works well for one beneficiary may not get the same results for another. Using fact patterns, this session will show how different solutions fit the same set of facts, and which option gives what outcome when considering a first party SNT, a third party SNT, an ABLE account, etc.
    Mary E. O’Byrne
  • Medicare Secondary Payer Act and Medicare Set-Asides: An Update (B)
    Medicare is the secondary payer to certain insurance plans including Worker’s compensation, auto and other liability insurance. In injury settlements involving a Medicare recipient, Medicare’s interests must be protected at the risk of personal liability for the attorneys involved if they are not. Come learn about Medicare Set Asides and what steps you must take to satisfy Medicare when drafting first party SNTs.
    Susan K. Tomita

4:15-5 p.m.
The Update by Robert Fleming

5 p.m.