Past Webinar: 2016 Special Needs Trusts Fundamentals

Friday, April 29, 2016
1 - 5 p.m. EDT
Stetson University College of Law

This webinar will address challenging administrative issues faced by trustees, attorneys, financial planners and others involved in Special Needs Trust administration. The faculty of nationally known leaders in the field of special needs planning will update the audience on significant topics for administering a special needs trust.

At the end of this webinar, you will be able to understand:

  • The provisions of the new POMS on ABLE accounts
  • The pros and cons of various housing options for a SNT beneficiary, as well as the various HUD programs
  • How to handle the Social Security review of your SNT
  • The federal requirements for making transfers to a person who is disabled, or to a trust, as well as the provisions that the trust must contain to protect the public benefits for the grantor and beneficiary.

The webinar will also feature a Q&A session on problems in administration. Participants are encouraged to submit questions ahead of time on any topic. The cost to participate in the webinar is $140.


1:00 - 1:10 p.m. EDT     
Welcome and Announcements
Professor Rebecca Morgan

1:10 - 2:10 p.m. EDT
There's No Place Like Home ... An Update on Housing Issues for Beneficiaries with Special Needs
Robert B. Fleming
This session will cover a number of topics regarding housing for beneficiaries, including whether the trust should buy a home for the beneficiary (and if so, how it will be titled) and HUD housing programs available for beneficiaries.

2:10 - 3:10 p.m. EDT
Surviving the SSA Review Process 
René H. Reixach
Notices from Social Security are often cryptic at best, so you will need an appointment of representative form signed by the SSI applicant/beneficiary for Social Security to talk to you. It can be helpful to find out who is the trust reviewer in the regional office where decisions are made, since often the field office doesn't know either the rules or the reason for the decision. Examine an example of a cryptic notice and a memorandum for an administrative law judge hearing on the issue of paying back to the "State" as opposed to the "states" as well as a recent SSI administrative message concerning court order SNTs that is unfamiliar to some field offices and limits the need to re-evaluate SNTs.

3:10 - 4:10 p.m. EDT
Having Your Cake and Eating It too:  Protecting the Grantor's Eligibility for Medicaid and SSI Benefits by Funding a Trust for Another Disabled Person 
Shirley B. Whitenack
Federal law allows grantors who need or will need Medicaid and/or SSI benefits to fun long term care to transfer assets outright to a disabled person or to a trust for the sole benefit of a disabled person without incurring a penalty period for the grantor or jeopardizing the disabled beneficiary's eligibility for Medicaid and SSI. This session will address the federal requirements for making such transfers and the provisions that the trust must contain to protect the public benefits that the grantor and the disabled beneficiary must access.

4:10 - 4:40 p.m. EDT
Robert B. Fleming and Shirley B. Whitenack
As various states enact enabling legislation to allow ABLE accounts, this session will take a close look at the POMS covering ABLE accounts and make some predictions on the utility of Able accounts for SNT beneficiaries.

4:40 - 5:00 p.m. EDT
Question and Answer Panel 
Robert B. Fleming and Shirley B. Whitenack
The day’s speakers will problem solve for the audience. Registrants may (and are encouraged to) submit their questions and problems in advance.


Robert B. Fleming
Attorney at Law

Fleming & Curti PLC
Tucson, Arizona

Robert Fleming is the author of The Elder Law Answer Book, now available from Aspen Publishers. He is a fellow of both the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. He has been certified as a specialist in Estate and Trust Law by the State Bar of Arizona's Board of Legal Specialization, and he is also a certified elder law attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation. Fleming is a member of the State Bar of Arizona (he was president of the Young Lawyers Section in 1978, Chair of the Probate and Trust Section in 1992, and chair of the Mental Health and Elder Law Section in 1999), and the Pima County Bar Association (he was president in 1986). Fleming is also a member of the Special Needs Alliance, the premier national organization of lawyers working with "special needs" trusts, and the Elder Law Alliance, an elite national group of a dozen lawyers with a common interest in improving the practice of elder law.

While serving as the Pima County, Arizona, Public Fiduciary (the Tucson area's public guardian's office), Fleming was one of the litigants in the Arizona Supreme Court case of Rasmussen v. Fleming, which established the right of incompetent patients (through their guardians) to refuse life-sustaining treatment when there is little prospect of recovery. He has also been actively involved in reviewing care at the Arizona State Hospital, and served as the Chair of the City of Tucson's city retirement plan for eight years.

Fleming & Curti, P.L.C. prides itself on use of up-to-date technology in the practice of law. In addition to speaking regularly on the use of Time Matters™ case management and HotDocs™ document assembly software, Fleming also manages an independent e-mail listserver for Time Matters™ users; interested lawyers and staff members can subscribe online. You may want to check out the TimeMatters list archives. The firm also operates smaller listservers for other software programs used in the office, including Televantage, the telephone communications package in use at Fleming & Curti, PLC.

Fleming's primary personal interest is his family (wife Rhonda and their two children Erik and Robyn). The entire family practices Cha Yon Ryu, a combination martial arts discipline incorporating Korean Tae Kwon do, Korean Hapkido, Japanese Karate and Chinese Ch'uanfa. He also enjoys antiques (particularly Mission and Arts and Crafts styles), scuba diving and computers.

René H. Reixach Jr.
Attorney at Law
Woods Oviatt Gilman LLP
Rochester, New York

Rene H Reixach Jr. is a partner in the firm’s Elder Law and health Care practice Group and responsible for handling all elder law and health care issues.

Reixach received his J.D degree from Harvard Law School, and his B.A. degree from Yale College.

Prior to joining Woods Oviatt, Reixach was the executive director of the Finger Lakes health System Agency, a health planning agency covering a nine-county region of western New York. In this capacity, he oversaw the local input to the State Department of Health process for planning and review of the development of the health facility services in this area.


Shirley B. Whitenack 
Attorney at Law 
Schenck Price Smith & King, LLP 
Florham Park, New Jersey

Shirley B. Whitenack is a partner at Schenck, Price, Smith & King, LLP with offices in Florham Park, Paramus, and Sparta, New Jersey and co-chairs the firm’s Elder and Special Needs Law Practice Group and the Estates and Trusts Litigation Practice Group. Whitenack devotes a substantial portion of her practice to elder and special needs law, estate planning and administration and trust and estate litigation. She is on the State of New Jersey roster of approved mediators.

Whitenack is the president of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), a NAELA Fellow, and a member of NAELA’s Council of Advanced Practitioners (CAP), an invitation-only group of elder and special needs planning practitioners and has served as an adjunct professor of law in the J.D. and LL.M. in elder law programs at Stetson University College of Law.

Whitenack is a member of the Special Needs Alliance (SNA), an invitation-only nationwide alliance of special needs planning attorneys, the American Bar Association (Litigation Section and Real Property, Trusts & Estates Section), the New Jersey State Bar Association’s (NJSBA) Advisory Committee on Continuing Legal Education and past chair of the NJSBA’s Elder & Disability Law Section. Whitenack is a member of the New Jersey State Bar Foundation’s Program Development Committee, the Morris County Bar Association’s (MCBA) Estates & Trusts Committee, and is past chair of MCBA’s Elder Law Committee.

Whitenack publishes and lectures extensively on topics related to guardianship, elder and special needs law, estate and trust litigation and probate mediation. She is quoted in publications such as the Wall Street JournalMoney magazine, Barron’sMarket Watch and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine.

Whitenack received the NJSBA’s Legislative Service Award in September 2003 for her contribution in drafting and promoting revisions to New Jersey’s guardianship statutes and the NJSBA’s Amicus Curiae Award in 2004. Whitenack received GANJI’s Recognition Award in October 2003 for her contribution in advocating for the civil rights of incapacitated individuals. She received NJICLE’s Distinguished Service Award in 2007 and the Distinguished Service Award from the NJSBA’s Elder and Disability Section in 2009. Whitenack received the Community Health Law Project’s Ann Klein Advocate Award in 2011 for improving the lives of people with disabilities and was recognized in 2011 by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey in a joint resolution for service to those with special needs. In 2012, she was honored by the NJSBA for her long service as a trustee of the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education and received the NJSBA’s Distinguished Legislative Service Award for her contribution to New Jersey’s enactment of the Uniform Adult Guardianship and Protective Proceedings Jurisdiction Act. Whitenack received the Morris County Bar Association’s Civil Practice Award in 2015.

CLE Information

The Florida Bar has approved this webinar for General CLE credits 4.5, Certification Credits: Elder Law 4.5, Wills, Trusts and Estates 4.5. Although we only apply for CLE in the state of Florida, we will provide a packet of materials via email to apply for CLE in another state. Stetson University College of Law does not pay the application fee for CLE applications in states other than Florida.

For more information, contact the Office of Conferences and Events at or 727-562-7312.