National Conference

Friday, October 15, 2021

8:15 a.m. - 8:30 a.m.

Welcome and Announcements

8:30 a.m. - 9:20 a.m.

The Real Flow: SNT → ABLE → Client → Purchase
Doug Jackson, Barb Helm, Chandler DeBolt, and Lisa DeBolt
This panel presentation will provide a real-life description of the flow of money when a SNT uses an ABLE account as the spending vehicle for day-to-day client purchases. Instead of hearing how it CAN work… hear how it DOES work from panel members that make this happen – including a trust administrator, an ABLE program administrator, a client (a person with a disability using both a SNT and an ABLE account), and a spending card administrator. You’ll learn how the money flows through these tools and how you can make this work for you and your clients too.

9:20 a.m. - 10:10 a.m.

Finding What Works: Research-Based Strategies to Improve Future Financial Planning for People with Disabilities and their Families
Caitlin Bailey and Corina Gilden
For many people with disabilities and their families, future financial planning is an overwhelming and unnecessarily challenge. They sometimes struggle to navigate complex and siloed systems to find professionals who have the knowledge and experience needed to help them secure their finances, benefits, and futures. During this session, we will share the results of a national study of more than 4,000 people with disabilities, their families, and professionals in related fields. We will present what we learned about peoples’ experiences and some challenges related to future financial planning, as well as solutions that help their planning efforts. Session attendees will gain expert recommendations and strategies to help ensure that people with disabilities and their families have access to the services and resources they need to plan for their financial futures.

10:10 a.m. - 10:25 a.m

Break and Visit with Sponsors and Exhibitors

10:25 a.m. - 11:15 a.m.

Managed Care and LTCSS: Managing Costs, Care, Both, or Neither?? A Panel Discussion
Marielle Hazen, Katy DeBriere, Sarah Somers, and Mary Alice Jackson (moderator) 
Implemented in only 4 states in 2004 but now used in 25, this panel of legal experts will provide an overview of recent federal regulations, quality measurements, and common legal issues that arise in the provision of Long-Term Supports and Services through managed care (MLTSS). Specifically, this panel, which includes both state and national experts will focus on issues in MLTSS plan enrollment, rights in care planning, due process protections, and state recovery. Attendees will gain essential information for themselves and their clients.

11:20 a.m. - 12:10 p.m.

Supported Decision-Making: Protecting Rights, Ensuring Choices
Jonathan Martinis 
Study after study has shown that when people with disabilities and older adults have more self-determination - when they make more choices - they have a better quality of life: they are more likely to be independent, employed, healthier, and safer.  In this session, attendees will learn about Supported Decision-Making, where people work with those they trust to help them understand, make, and communicate decisions.  Attendees will learn the “why” of Supported Decision-Making, as an alternative to guardianship and a way to enhance self-determination and quality of life.

12:10 p.m. - 1:10 p.m.


1:10 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Breakout Session 1

  • Private Group Homes
    Janet Lowder 

    Living independently is an important goal for many individuals with disabilities. Many families grow tired of waiting for residential opportunities through their state or local services.  Or they may envision a life which is very different from the living situations provided by the public agencies.  These individuals and their families often want to explore setting up a private living situation, usually with one or more additional individuals.  This session will explore the many issues that must be considered when embarking on such a project, including legal structure, locating the home, finding housemates, finding appropriate care providers, setting a budget and funding the project.

  • Try This, Not That: A Corporate Trustee’s Perspective - Drafting Mistakes to Avoid
    Will Lucius
    This session will explore common drafting errors, omissions, and challenging dispositive provisions within the governing instrument that may impede or make difficult the trust administration process from the vantage point of a corporate fiduciary.
  • What Lawyers Needs to Know Before Recommending a Pooled Trust
    Megan Brand, Stephen Dale, Eric DeGroot, and Yolanda Mazyck 

    The use of a pooled special needs trust (PSNT) can be an excellent tool that greatly enhances the life of your clients on means tested benefits.  There are many factors that need to be thoroughly reviewed with your client in order to determine if a trust will be a good fit.  Further, not all PSNTs are created equally and the merits of each PSNT need to be weighed to determine the best choice for your client.  Clients who are ill-prepared for the limitations on the use of proceeds in a pooled special needs trust may find themselves in a difficult spot or unhappy with the results.  This session will examine the key considerations to examine when counseling your client on their decision re: a PSNT account.

2:00 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.

Break and Visit with Sponsors and Exhibitors

2:15 p.m. - 3:05 p.m.

Breakout Session 2

  • Supported Decision-Making: From Theory to Practice
    Jonathan Martinis 

    Supported Decision-Making can help people with disabilities and older adults have more self-determination and an enhanced quality of life.  In this session, you’ll learn the “how” of Supported Decision-Making, particularly in working with people with disabilities.  The session will include strategies and resources for creating Supported Decision-Making relationships and for using Supported Decision-Making in programs and services like Special Education, Vocational Rehabilitation, Person Centered Planning, and Financial Management.  

  • Special Needs Trusts and Those Other Pesky Benefits: Keep Them or Not and How to Administer a SNT with Them
    Bridget Swartz
    We are all familiar with the use of a Special Needs Trust (SNT)to preserve eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid. Individuals with a disability who qualify for these benefits are “indigent” and, with indigency often comes other benefits, such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) aka “food stamps” and Section 8 housing assistance. This session will address whether a SNT can preserve a beneficiary’s financial eligibility for “those other pesky benefits”, how to evaluate whether it’s worthwhile keeping them and, if so, how to administer a SNT to maintain eligibility for such benefits.
  • Effects of Isolation During the COVID-19 Pandemic for Older Adults and People with Disabilities
    Dr. Amber Gum
    The speakers will review the impacts of isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic for older adults, people with disabilities, and their formal and informal caregivers. Mental and physical health impacts including depression, anxiety, and functional decline will be highlighted along with the protective role of resilience. The disruption and resumption of support services will also be considered. They will conclude with a discussion of implications for the future, such as expansion of remote and hybrid services for a variety of needs (e.g., health education, healthcare, household needs, socialization) from a person-centered framework.

3:05 p.m. - 3:15 p.m.

Break and Visit with Sponsors and Exhibitors

3:20 p.m. - 4:10 p.m.

Breakout Session 3

  • Avoiding Pitfalls, Preparing for Potholes and Surviving Speed Bumps – Educating Laypeople About the Roles and Responsibilities of Fiduciaries
    Jennifer VanderVeen
    Ever find yourself knocking your head against your desk because a guardian or attorney in fact said “you never told me I couldn’t”? Do you find your coworkers questioning your capacity because they hear you repeating yourself to clients over and over again? Learn some tips, tricks and time tested ways to educate laypeople about both how to serve as a guardian, trustee or attorney in fact and how to work with fiduciaries as a ward, beneficiary or family member.
  • Alternatives to SNTs
    Bryn Poland 
    When you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. This presentation will be a basic overview of some new tools for your toolbelt and how to identify and use them appropriately. ABLE accounts, Settlement Preservation Trusts, UTMA accounts, spend downs, structured settlements and others!
  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Cannabis
    Dr. Leah Sera and Michelle Wright
    Medical cannabis is legal in 38 states and US territories, with the vast majority of Americans favoring legalization in some form. Patients who are disabled, chronically ill, and elderly are regularly using medical cannabis for treatment or symptom relief; despite the fact that it is federally illegal and regulated inconsistently across the country.

    With this backdrop, participants will learn the basic science and evidence around medical cannabis use for a variety of medical conditions. Participants will also learn about the considerations of medical cannabis from a guardianship and caregiver perspective and how these issues are being navigated (or not) in the complicated intersection of federal and state law.

4:20 p.m. - 5 p.m.

The Update
Robert W. Fechtman and Robert B. Fleming
At the end of each Stetson SNT program, we review the year’s most significant, interesting and/or quirky cases, statutory or regulatory changes. Join us for a fast-paced review of a bumpy year.