Considerations Selecting a Family Trustee

By Tara Anne Pleat, Esq. It is not uncommon for parents who are creating a supplemental needs trust (SNT) for a loved one with disabilities to assume that naming one of the child’s siblings as the trustee is a perfect solution. They often believe that someone who’s grown up alongside the beneficiary is best positioned [...]

2021-01-11T11:14:33-05:00

When Should a Special Needs Trust Be Updated?

By Daniel Surprenant, CELA Special needs trusts (SNTs) are financial instruments designed to enhance quality of life for individuals with disabilities by supplementing the government benefits available to them. Assets held in SNTs aren’t counted when determining an individual’s eligibility for means-tested public programs such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Since personal circumstances [...]

2021-01-11T11:14:01-05:00

SNT Beneficiaries on the Move: Third in a Series

This installment of The Voice was written by Special Needs Alliance member Kristen M. Lewis, Esq., who practices in Atlanta, Georgia at Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP. Kristen is also a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC). She is a frequent national speaker on special needs planning, and serves on the Boards of numerous non-profits that support individuals with disabilities and their families. In her free time, she trains certified service dogs for Canine Assistants in Milton, Georgia.

2021-01-14T16:14:48-05:00

Roundup: Back to Work/Money Management/SSI

SNA attorneys have ongoing involvement with the wide-ranging issues faced by individuals with disabilities, their families and the professionals who serve them. Below is a sampling from member blogs and newsletters. Transitioning Back to Work After Receiving Disability Benefits Learn about government programs designed to ease you back into the workforce, while protecting certain benefits. [...]

2021-04-12T06:24:36-04:00

The Impact of Tax Reform on Special Needs Planning

By James McCarten, Esq. As a 2017 holiday present to taxpayers, Congress passed tax legislation that your representatives, senators and many tax professionals have described as the most significant overhaul of our tax laws since 1986, when President Ronald Reagan's tax bill was passed. What follows is an overview of those provisions of what was [...]

2021-01-11T11:12:14-05:00

SNT Beneficiaries on the Move: Second in a Series

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment of The Voice was written by Special Needs Alliance member Kristen M. Lewis, Esq., who practices in Atlanta, Georgia at Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP. Kristen is also a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC). She is a frequent national speaker on special needs planning, and serves on the Boards of numerous non-profits that support individuals with disabilities and their families. In her vast amounts of free time, she trains certified service dogs for Canine Assistants in Milton, Georgia.

2021-01-18T10:32:03-05:00

SNT Beneficiaries on the Move: First in a Series

This installment of The Voice was written by Special Needs Alliance member Kristen M. Lewis, Esq., who practices in Atlanta, Georgia at Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP. Kristen is also a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. She is a frequent national speaker on Special Needs Planning, and serves on the Boards of numerous non-profits that support individuals with disabilities and their families. In her vast amounts of free time, she trains certified service dogs for Canine Assistants in Milton, Georgia.

2021-01-11T11:08:51-05:00

Crowdfunding Should Be Handled with Care

By Stephen W. Dale, Esq. Crowdfunding, with websites such as GoFundMe, has increasingly been used to raise money on behalf of individuals with disabilities. In such cases, family, friends and members of the general public want to help pay for medical treatments, home renovations or the many other expenses faced by someone with special needs [...]

2021-01-11T11:08:28-05:00

Two Different Types of Special Needs Trusts

There are two types of Special Needs Trusts (SNTs), commonly designated as first-party and third-party SNTs. It is important to determine which type of SNT you have or need. This depends upon whose property is funding the SNT. If the property funding the SNT originates with the SNT beneficiary, then it is a first-party SNT. However, if the property funding the SNT always belonged to someone other than the SNT beneficiary, then it must be drafted as a third-party SNT.

2021-01-18T10:31:06-05:00

Trust Protectors for Special Needs Trusts

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Gregory Wilcox of Berkeley, California. Greg’s firm focuses on government benefits and estate planning for the elderly and for individuals with disabilities. He is a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) and co-author of Special Needs Trusts: Planning, Drafting, and Administration and of California Elder Law Resources, Benefits, and Planning.  He is a core faculty member in attorney training conferences given by California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR) in San Francisco, and frequent contributor of articles on special needs topics in CANHR's Legal Network News.

2021-01-11T11:05:21-05:00

ABLE Accounts and SNTs: How to Choose?

The “ABLE” account is a relatively new planning tool that offers an individual with disabilities a tax-free savings option (similar to a 529 College Savings Plan) that does not interfere with the individual’s eligibility for means-tested government benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid. Special needs trusts (SNTs) are well-established savings tools that [...]

2021-01-11T11:04:57-05:00

Buying A Vehicle With Funds From A Pooled Special Needs Trust

By Joanne Marcus, MSW, Executive Director, Commonwealth Community Trust Buying a vehicle is a big financial decision involving research and patience.   For individuals receiving Medicaid and SSI (Supplemental Security Income), the rules allow for ownership of one vehicle without jeopardizing benefit eligibility.  When an individual has adequate funds in a pooled special needs trust (PSNT), [...]

2021-01-11T11:04:41-05:00

Terminating a Special Needs Trust

By Charlene K. Quade, Esq. Individuals establish special needs trusts (SNTs) to protect assets intended to supplement means-tested government benefits for a sole beneficiary, and to preserve the individual’s eligibility for such programs. SNTs exist in the form of first party, first party pooled, third party, and third party pooled trusts. First party and first [...]

2021-01-18T10:32:53-05:00

Filing a Tax Return for a Special Needs Trust: What a Trustee Needs to Know at Tax Time

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment of The Voice was written by Special Needs Alliance member Tara Anne Pleat, Esq.. Tara is a founding partner of the law firm of Wilcenski & Pleat PLLC in Clifton Park, New York. She practices in the areas of Special Needs Planning, Elder Law, and Trust and Estate Planning and Administration. Tara writes and lectures frequently on issues affecting individuals with disabilities and their families.

2021-01-18T10:31:50-05:00

The “Special Needs Trust Fairness Act” is Finally Law: Individuals with Disabilities Can Now Establish Their Own Trusts

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment of The Voice was written by Special Needs Alliance member Morris Klein, CELA, who practices law in Bethesda, Maryland. Morris has been recognized as a Certified Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation, and focuses on elder law and special needs planning. He currently serves on the SNA Board of Directors, and is a former member of the Board of Directors of the First Maryland Disability Trust.

2021-01-11T11:02:40-05:00

Retirement Funds and SNTs

Watch Out for the Details By Andrew H. Hook, CELA Retirement accounts are often among a family’s largest assets, so you may have thought about leaving a portion to your son or daughter with disabilities. But if they will ever need means-tested benefits, your good intentions could disqualify them for important programs such as Medicaid [...]

2021-01-11T11:02:12-05:00

When Should You Consider a Pooled Trust?

By Janet Lowder, CELA, and Elena Lidrbauch, CELA Directly receiving a personal injury settlement, inheritance or other sizable sum of money can derail the finances of someone with disabilities. That's because having more than $2,000 in resources makes them ineligible for means-tested government programs such as Medicaid and SSI (Supplemental Security Income), which may be [...]

2021-09-01T04:57:44-04:00

Roundup: Subsidized Housing/Nursing Home Contracts/Alzheimer’s

SNA attorneys have ongoing involvement with the wide-ranging issues faced by individuals with disabilities, their families and the professionals who serve them. Below is a sampling of posts from member blogs and newsletters. SNTs and Section 8 Housing A recent court decision has implications for special needs trust beneficiaries who seek subsidized housing. Read more. Nursing Home [...]

2021-04-12T06:28:34-04:00

Consider Sole Benefit Trusts for Medicaid Spend Down

By Jane Skelton, Esq. Long-term care is expensive, and an older individual may consider Medicaid to pay for that care. If the individual has a family member or friend with a disability, a sole benefit trust could be considered. If drafted correctly, transfers of the individual’s assets to a sole benefit trust would hasten Medicaid [...]

2021-01-11T10:58:09-05:00

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