2014 Special Needs Trusts - ARCHIVE

Oct. 15-17, 2014
The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club
St. Petersburg, Florida

Celebrating 16 years, Special Needs Trusts - The National Conference will provide an in-depth review of major issues presented in the creation, administration and monitoring of special needs trusts. The conference offers nationally recognized speakers on basic and advanced topics for a variety of professionals who work in the field.


2014 Special Needs Trusts - The National Conference Program

The Pre-Conference: Pooled Trusts (Wednesday, Oct. 15 and Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014)
This pre-conference will focus on issues for pooled trust administrators, attorneys and others who work with pooled trusts.

The Pre-Conference: The Tax Intensive (Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014)
This pre-conference will focus on core tax-related issues and answers that every special needs planning attorney must know.

The Conference (Oct. 16-17, 2014)
The 2014 Conference provides two days of programs with nationally recognized speakers and supporting materials on basic and advanced topics for a variety of professionals who work in the field of special needs planning.



Stetson Law would like to extend a special thank you to the following sponsors and exhibitors for their continuous support of the 2014 Special Needs Trusts - The National Conference.

Conference Sponsor




Premium Co-Sponsors

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Thursday Lunch Sponsor

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Registration and Wednesday Morning Break Sponsor
Name Badge Sponsor



Conference Wireless Sponsor


Break Sponsors

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Conference Exhibitors


Pre-Conference: Tax Intensive
Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014

A program focused on tax-related questions and answers that elder law attorneys must know.

7:30 a.m. -5:15 p.m.
Registration Desk Open

1-2 p.m.
Income By Any Other Name is Still Income...Or Is It?
Speaker: Dennis M. Sandoval
This session will compare and contrast fiduciary accounting income with taxable income and income for purposes of government assistance.

2-3 p.m.
The IRC Meets SNTs: Collaboration or Collision?
Speaker: Robert B. Fleming
This session will cover a review of the sections of the Code of Federal Regulations on tax filings as they pertain to SNTs, discuss the tax implications for SNTs, and answer that age-old question: Does my trust need an EIN?

3-3:15 p.m.
Break and Visit with Sponsors and Exhibitors

3:15-4:15 p.m.
How Do You Leave an IRA/Qualified Plan to a SNT?
Speaker: Bradley J. Frigon
This session will provide samples and language for an accumulation trust, some actual calculations of the dollar amounts in some hypothetical cases, language for a beneficiary designation, and end with a discussion analyzing trust distributions and payments.

4:15-4:30 p.m.
It's All About the MAGI. Tax Implications Under the Affordable Care Act
Speaker: Bradley J. Frigon
A short but important session explaining how Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) is used under the Affordable Care Act to determine eligibility for expanded Medicaid, tax credits and reductions in cost sharing and what MAGI means for clients.

4:30-5:15 p.m.
Small Group Sessions
This session will focus on completing tax returns for first and third party trusts. Participants will be divided into three small groups, given a fact pattern and walk through a return with the speaker/facilitator. Bring a pencil and a calculator and get ready to do some math!

5:15 p.m.

Pre-Conference: Pooled Trusts (Day One)
Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014

A program focused on issues for pooled trusts administrators, attorneys and those who work with pooled trustees.

7:30 a.m. -5:15 p.m.
Registration Desk Open

7:30-8:15 a.m.
Continental Breakfast and Visit with Sponsors and Exhibitors

8:15-8:25 a.m.
Welcome and Announcements
Rebecca C. Morgan

8:25-9:15 a.m.
The Annual Survey of Pooled Trusts and Public Benefits
Speaker: Neal A. Winston

This not to be missed session will update the audience on the changes of how public benefits programs have affected pooled trust administration through the court decisions and agency policies, including the SSI trust review process.

9:15-10:15 a.m.
The Half-Told Story: Managing Negative Social Media
Speaker: Ellyn Angelotti
This session will review how social media is used to advocate a particular viewpoint and how to respond when the viewpoint is negative and only tells one side of the story.

10:15 - 10:30 a.m.
Break and Visit with Sponsors and Exhibitors

10:30-11:15 a.m.
What's the Right Way? Using an Approval Process That Protects the Trust...and the Beneficiary...and What Staff Should Make the Approvals
Speaker: Heidi J. Flatt
This session will look at the “hows” of a Corporate Trustee approval process and examine the way this process protects the trust, and by protecting beneficiaries' eligibility for public benefits, reduces the Pooled Trust's liability. This session will also provide examples of the process, and the “who's” of using the process: the executive director, the board, a committee, etc. Finally this session will review the “whats”— which are the controls in place to make sure the process is followed and all of the Ts of the trust are crossed.

11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
Use of Residual Funds by Pooled Trusts and Obtaining and Maintaining Tax-Exempt Status
Speaker: Philip T. Hackney
This session will review Pooled Trusts and their tax status. In particular, Professor Hackney will discuss how to qualify for tax-exempt status as a section 501(c)(3) charitable organization under the Internal Revenue Code, how to maintain that status, and the primary ways such status might be lost. All will be explained in easy to understand terms.

12:15-1 p.m.
Networking Lunch

1-1:45 p.m.
Taking Your Toys and Going Home
Speakers: Megan Brand, Stuart D. Zimring
Sometimes a relationship just doesn't work out and the parties need to gracefully and effectively dissolve their relationship. This session will review how the trustee should respond when the beneficiary wants to terminate the joinder agreement as well as whether a trust can “fire” a beneficiary as a client. Finally, the session will review the legal and practical issues faced by the trust when the beneficiary is “lost”.

Disaster Management: Keeping Your Staff Safe and the Business Going
Speaker: Christopher Marone, Kelly A. Thompson
Bad things happen. Disasters occur. In such events trustees need to consider next steps, post-disaster. Clients need help but staff need to be kept safe, and may be personally experiencing a loss from a disaster. This session will look at the myriad issues the trustee faces, policies to be in place, and plans to make so if disaster strikes, the trustee is prepared.

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

2:45-3:30 p.m.
Master Trust Agreements: Tax Provisions and Consequences
Speaker: Vincent J. Russo
This session will address the issues for third party community trusts/pooled trusts. Starting with the trust agreement, this session will review the application of the tax laws, include a discussion of the 65 day rule, look at the tax issues between (d)(4)(C) and third party pooled trusts, and compare state and federal laws.

3:30-4:15 pm.
ABLE and Beyond - What Pooled Trustees Need to Know About State Trends with Planning
Speakers: John Ariale, Stephen Dale and Neal Winston
Although ABLE may not pass in this Congressional Session, who knows what will happen next year. Some states may have adopted or are considering their own versions of ABLE.  This session will offer perspectives of three panelists on what ABLE is intended to accomplish, how states are adopting state-specific versions, and what pooled trustees need to know about explaining and using these accounts as planning tools for beneficiaries.  

4:15-5 p.m.
Breakout Session 1

  • Uh-Oh, You Did What?
    Speaker: Janet L. Lowder
    Sometimes beneficiaries get themselves in trouble, and have legal problems or receive overpayments. This session will cover how to handle these issues and consider whether it is appropriate for the trust to pay these legal obligations of the beneficiary.
  • Building Relationships with State Agencies
    Speakers: Stephen Dale, Barb Helm
    Having a working relationship with state agencies can be important in accomplishing change for individual beneficiaries or in policies and procedures. Our panel of experts will discuss their experiences, why such relationships are important and how to build them.

5 p.m.

Pre-Conference: Pooled Trusts (Day Two)
Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014

7:30 a.m. -6:30 p.m.
Registration Desk Open

7:30-8:15 a.m.
Continental Breakfast and Visit with Sponsors and Exhibitors

8- 9 a.m.
Breakout Session 2

  • "Odd" Expenditures: How Does a Trustee Decide? 
    Speaker: Megan Brand 
    Beneficiaries are human-they have specific requests that may seem a little odd to some, but perfectly typical to others. This session will review how trustee decides whether to make a disbursement when the beneficiary wants to buy a gun, fireworks, marijuana, to name a few.
  • Workplace Safety in an Insecure World: Strategies for Dealing with Volatile Clients in the Workplace
    Speakers: Sacha Dyson, Heidi J. Flatt
    Pooled Trusts frequently have beneficiaries who are emotional, volatile, or even dangerous. This session will review how the trustee needs to consider the safety of employees, provide adequate security at the workplace and have appropriate insurance to cover these risks.

9-10 a.m.
Breakout Session 3

  • Good Procedures = Good Controls: Internal Operating Procedures for Pooled Trusts
    Speaker: Kerry Tedford-Coles
    Every pooled trust administrator wants to have good staff in place and make sure everything is done the right way. This session will review what are the must-have internal operating procedures, the need for staff training on compliance, how to implement procedures, put safeguards in place to ensure procedures are followed, and assets are safe. This session will also cover what records agencies will want to review, and the best practices in compiling and archiving those records.
  • HUD's Section 811 Program - What is it and Why Pooled Trusts Needs to Know About It
    Speaker: Stuart Zimring
    Andrew Lee will discuss the Section 811 program, the only HUD housing assistance program dedicated to serving persons with disabilities. He will discuss two programs within the Section 811 statutory authority, the Section 811 Capital Advance program and the Section 811 Project Rental Assistance Program. In addition he will provide an overview of the admissions and occupancy requirements for these two programs.

10:15-11:15 a.m.
Breakout Session 4

  • How Running Other Programs May Be Beneficial to Your Non-Profit
    Speaker: Barb Helm
    Professional trustees, including pooled trusts may also serve as fiduciaries in other capacities, such as guardian,
    conservator or representative payee, or provide case management services. This session will review the various other services that may be provided, the advantages and disadvantages of doing so, what resources are needed, and the
    implications on the pooled trust.
  • Community Programs 101
    Speakers: Stephen Dale, Doris Lill
    There are many community based programs that may be helpful for beneficiaries. This session will discuss the types of services as well as the typical eligibility for the services. As well, this session will consider how to a trustee can work with community programs, challenges of obtaining services in smaller communities, how to find information about services.

Speaker Roundtable Discussion


Basics of Special Needs Trusts
Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014

7:30 a.m. -6:30 p.m.
Registration Desk Open

7:30-8:15 a.m.
Continental Breakfast and Visit with Sponsors and Exhibitors

8:15-8:30 a.m.
Welcome and Announcements
Professor Rebecca C. Morgan

8:30-9:20 a.m.
A Bird's Eye View of SNTs
Speakers: Mary Alice Jackson
This is Basics Day—and Basics Day would not be complete without an overview of the various types of SNTs. So here it is—a bird's eye view of the statutory and third party SNTs, setting the stage for the day with a review of the elements of the big 3 SNTs: (d)(4)(A), (d)(4)(C), and third party SNTs, with a quick user's guide for those who are learning to distinguish these three.

9:20-10:20 a.m.
Medicaid's Rules for Trusts
Speaker: Craig C. Reaves
Medicaid has specific eligibility rules that focus on assets, income and availability, and requirements for trusts in order to not render a beneficiary of a trust ineligible for Medicaid. Since many times a SNT is designed to “supplement, not supplant” drafters and administrators of SNTs must have a clear understanding of Medicaid's rules for trusts. This session will provide that.

10:20 -10:30 a.m.
Break and Visit with Sponsors and Exhibitors

10:30-11:15 a.m.
The Body of a SNT: Cold Hard Cash and More Sophisticated Assets
Speaker: Dennis M. Sandoval
What can the SNT corpus contain? We know it can contain money. But can it contain more? This session will cover the corpus, and just what can be in the corpus.

Special Needs Counseling - It's More Than Just the Trust
Speaker: Neal A. Winston
The trust is only the end product of a careful review of your client's special needs.  Age, longevity, housing, family structure, support services, sources of available funds, and public benefits are just a few of the things that your clients need to think about before you draft the trust.  The counseling is the most important service that you can provide to a family with a member with special needs.  This session guides you through the process from the initial meeting to follow up support.

Noon-1 p.m.
Networking Lunch 

1-1:50 p.m.
Breakout Session 1 (Follow-Up on Fundamentals) 

  • Planning in Stages
    Speaker: Vincent J. Russo                                                                                                                                    
    In this session, Vincent J. Russo will draw on his client's experiences to provide a practical approach to Special Needs Planning.  He will highlight what steps should be taken and at what point, in regard to Government Benefits, SSI & Medicaid, Special Needs Trusts, Taxes and Guardianships.  
  • Talking to Clients
    Speaker: Janet L. Lowder
    Attorneys needs to clearly communicate with clients from day 1 about a variety of issues, some quite complicated or technical.  This session will focus on the whats of counseling: what to tell the client, what to provide the client, what to document, and what to do as far as follow-up.  This session will also review the differences in the counseling conversation based on who is the client. 
  • Tax 101
    Speaker: Bradley J. Frigon
    What are the must-know tax laws, rules and practices for every trustee and attorney involved in the practice of special needs planning? This session will give us the 411 on Tax 101. It's basics day, so don't worry, you'll understand it!

1:55-2:45 p.m.
Breakout Session 2 (Walking through the SNT provisions) 

  • (d)(4)(A) Provisions
    Speaker: Craig C. Reaves
    This session will review what to include in drafting a (d)(4)(A) and the provisions that are not “standard” in other trusts, but are for a SNT. 
  • The (d)(4)(A) and (C) Starter Kit
    Speaker: Bridget O'Brien Swartz
    This session will cover what attorneys new to a SNP practice need to have in their starter kits, to get the first party SNT up and going. How do you decide between a d(4)(A) or individual SNT versus d(4)(C) pooled SNT? What provisions do you need? How do you pick a pooled trust company? First timers-start your computers!
  • Third-party SNT Provisions
    Speaker: Stuart D. Zimring
    The use of a SNT in third party planning is taking on increasing importance for all clients, whether part of a testamentary plan, or a stand-alone SNT. This session will examine the provisions needed for the creation of a third party SNT, especially the stand-alone SNT.

2:45 -3:00 p.m.
Break and Visit with Sponsors and Exhibitors

3:00-3:50 p.m.
Breakout Session 3 (More Fundamentals)

  • Testamentary SNTs as Part of Spousal Estate Planning
    Speaker: Michael J. Amoruso, Howard S. Krooks
    When drafting a plan for a client, the attorney needs to consider whether the surviving spouse will have special needs, and whether the estate planning documents should include a third party testamentary SNT.
  • Eliminate the Medicaid Lien Using Comprehensive ACA Private Health Insurance
    Speaker: David J. Lillesand
    This session will examine when and how attorneys can use the Affordable Care Act to completely avoid Medicaid payback and estate recovery liens – and when not to. CMS memoranda on liens and recoveries will be reviewed in a practice-oriented way.
  • And Then the Magic Occurs...Steps the Parent, Grandparent, Legally Appointed Guardian or Court Actually Take to Create the (d)(4)(A) SNT
    Speaker: Mary E. O'Byrne
    42 U.S.C. § 1396p(d)(4)(A) is very specific about who is allowed to create a SNT under this section. But other than signing a piece of paper, how is it accomplished? This session will cover the steps the trust creator takes from conception to activation.

3:50-4:40 p.m.
Breakout Session 4 (Fundamentals of Administration)

  • Expenditures That Impact Benefits and/or Eligibility
    Speaker: Robert W. Fechtman
    There is a cause and effect analysis needed in determining the rightness of an expenditure vis a vis public benefits. Inappropriate expenditures have the effect of the beneficiary being denied or losing benefits. Learn what expenditures are problematic and how to avoid the problem before it happens.
  • Who is Watching the Trustee?
    Speaker: Elizabeth N. Rollings
    We all know the saying “when you've seen one Medicaid program, you've seen one Medicaid programs...” The same can be said for state oversight of trustee distributions. After compiling a 50 state review of Medicaid rules, this session will highlight common and not so common reporting requirements, including practical questions about oversight and accounting rules.
  • Exit Strategy: A Checklist for When a SNT Ends
    Speaker: Chris Van Atta
    For various reasons a SNT may have outlived its usefulness: the beneficiary may have died, won the lottery, or the principal of the SNT is exhausted. The trustee can't just close the books and walk away. This session will provide a checklist on the steps the trustee must take to wrap up and close the books on the SNT, based on the reason for termination, and review what clauses should be included in a SNT anticipating the eventuality of the SNT ending.

4:45-5:15 p.m.
Panel Discussion: Common Mistakes of Beginning Practitioners
We all make mistakes, even those of us experienced professionals. So come hear these experienced professionals wrap up the day's program with a discussion of the common mistakes beginning practitioners make when gearing up a SNT practice. Will they be speaking from personal experience? Join us and find out!

5:15-6:30 p.m.

16th Annual Special Needs Trusts - National Conference
Special Needs Trust Planning for Special Needs - It's Not Just the Trust

Friday, Oct. 17, 2014

7:30 a.m. -5 p.m.
Registration Desk Open

7:30-8:15 a.m.
Continental Breakfast and Visit with Sponsors and Exhibitors

8:15-8:30 a.m.
Welcome and Announcements
Professor Rebecca C. Morgan

8:30-9:30 a.m.
An Update from SSI
Speaker: Ken Brown and Eric Skidmore (by video conference)
Appearing by video in conference, Kenneth Brown and Eric Skidmore will provide an update from the Social Security Administration.

9:30-10:30 a.m.
ACA +1 Years Later. Now What?
Speaker: Vicki Gottlich (by video conference)
We have seen lots of news about various parts of the Affordable Care Act as the sections have been implemented. How do you sort through everything you need to know about the ACA, for yourself, your employees and your clients? How do you factor in the ACA when creating a special needs plan? (how about some trends she's seeing that she didn't expect) 

10:30-11:15 a.m.
Solving New Age Problems in a Special Needs Practice
Speakers: Shirley B. Whitenack, Neal A. Winston
The Affordable Care Act, the Social Security Administration, CMS, state Medicaid, IRS, lawyer discipline, trust regulation statutes, internet documents, financial institutions, and the list goes on and on for the many governmental, semi-public, and private agencies and institutions that affect our SNT practices for which we need to be alert. This session provides practical advice on how to adapt to what has occurred over the past several years and what to plan for in the coming years in SNT practice.

11:20 a.m. -12:10 p.m.
Breakout Session 1 

  • Reformation of Trusts  
    Speaker: Robert B. Fleming and Craig C. Reaves
    Sometimes a trust needs to be “fixed” because problems occurred as a result of drafting errors. Since state laws on reformation vary, this session will provide a broad overview of reformation and some options for the practitioner.
  • The SNT Cousin - The (d)(4)(B) Trust
    Speaker: Howard S. Krooks
    We always talk about 42 U.S.C. § 1396p(d)(4)(A) and (d)(4)(C). But what about their cousin, the (d)(4)(B)? It finally gets its due, with its own breakout session where NAELA's immediate past president Howie Krooks will talk about the uses of the (d)(4)(B), the drafting of one, and more.
  • Ethics - Who IS the Client? The Rules of Client Identification
    Speakers: Roberta K. Flowers, Mary Alice Jackson
    This session will cover the different scenarios when the attorney is approached to prepare the SNT and discuss how the courts, ethics rules and opinions resolve the question who IS the client.

12:10-1 p.m.
Networking Lunch

1-1:50 p.m., Breakout Sessions
Breakout Session 2

  • Marriage Equality, Government Benefits and Planning for LGBT Clients with Special Needs
    Speakers: Jason S. Palmer, Stephanie L. Schneider
    Because not all states recognize marriage equality, it is important for the attorneys and trustees need to understand the various ways that the issues may occur for married same-sex clients and those issues that are unique to those clients as a result of the variations in the state laws regarding marriages of same sex couples.
  • SNT Managing Real Estate - When the Upkeep Isn't Kept Up: Fiduciary Issues When Managing Real Estate
    Speaker: Marielle F. Hazen
    There are times when the SNT may own real estate for reasons other than to provide a home for a beneficiary. The trustee needs to consider her fiduciary duties regarding such assets and her liability for failing to do so, as well as the trust's liability to invitees or renters hurt on the property.
  • Rebalancing the Portfolio
    Speakers: Richard P. Biddison, Gentry B, Byrnes
    We all know about the Prudent Investor Rule, trustee duties, etc. Managing the SNT corpus, whether stand-alone or pooled, requires appropriate oversight. This session will cover the trustee's responsibility to supervise the investment advisors, to direct reallocation of the portfolio to meet beneficiary's changing needs and a fluctuating economy.

1:55-2:45 p.m.
Breakout Session 3

  • Testing the Appropriateness of Distributions - A Checklist for Decisions
    Speaker: Robert B. Fleming
    Serving as Trustee for a SNT is more than paying the bills. The trustee has to determine what distributions are appropriate, so this session will show how a trustee can use a checklist to test the appropriateness of a request for distribution. The session will cover such questions to be answered such as: Is the expenditure for the beneficiary's sole benefit?; Is the expenditure related to the source of the funds?; Are there other ways to pay for this expense?; Is the expense large relative to the benefit?; Relative to the trust?; Will others in the household benefit from the expenditure disproportionately?; Are there health issues?; Could the expenditure have been avoided if the caregivers had taken remedial action?
  • MSA Update
    Speaker: Bridget O'Brien Swartz
    This session will provide the latest updates on MSAs, practical suggestions on how to work with PI attorneys & the role the SNP attorney plays in MSA cases. 
  • Representing the Special Needs Beneficiary Before the Social Security Administration: Income, Resources, Overpayments and Waivers
    Speaker: Linda S. Durston
    A surprising array of financial circumstances cause the special needs clients to seek advocacy before the Social Security Administration. In such cases, the Administration generally finds "excess income" or "excess resources" (or both), but the causes and possible defenses are diverse. This session will provide an analysis of case studies in light of relevant sections of the Social Security Program Operations Manual System (“POMS”) relating to income, living arrangements, resources, unknown assets, loans and transfers, as well as benefit continuation, overpayments, waivers and fee arrangements, with strategies for maximizing the client's SSI, defending against interruptions in payments, and getting paid for your work. A basic understanding of SSI income and resource rules is presumed for this presentation.

2:45 -3 p.m.
Break and Visit with Sponsors and Exhibitors

3-3:50 p.m.
Breakout Session 4

  • When the Beneficiary's Home Becomes the Party House...Ten Reasons for the SNT to Not Own a Home
    Speaker: Shirley B. Whitenack
    To own or not to own...that is the question for the trustee when making decisions about housing for the SNT beneficiary. This session will look at the 10 reasons a SNT should not own the home...and maybe throw in some reasons why it should.
  • A Focused, Intensive Session on Tax Issues for SNTs
    Speaker: Vincent J. Russo
    This session will review the tax issues with irrevocable 3rd party SNTs, such as whether grantor or not; income tax-what is/isn't deductible; Crummey powers with ILITs and withdrawal powers and impact on government benefits; larger settlements-valuation of structures and impact on estate taxes; and use hypotheticals to illustrate the issues.
  • Need an IDEA? (An introduction to the world of special education)
    Speaker: Brian N. Rubin
    This session is a ground floor entry for special needs planning attorneys into the topic of special education.  The session is a primer of IDEA, IEP, LRE, FAPE, and related topics, so that you can answer the basic special education questions of your clients. 

4-4:50 p.m.
The Update
Speaker: Robert B. Fleming
This popular session closes the schedule again this year. Its primary purpose: to give you up-to-the-date, useable information about developing trends in special needs law, to survey new cases and important changes in the law, and to energize you for the return to your office with information you will be able to use immediately.

4:50 p.m.