How Will the Affordable Care Act Affect SNTs?

Shirley B. Whitenack, Esq., Florham Park, New Jersey Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a hybrid system comprised of Medicaid and state-based insurance exchanges seeks to extend health coverage to all Americans. How will this shape the life care plans that families establish for loved ones with disabilities? Will special needs trusts (SNTs) continue to [...]

2021-01-11T10:15:47-05:00

Thinking It Through

What to Consider When Creating a Special Needs Trust By Katherine N. Barr, Esq. Many parents put off the process of setting up a special needs trust (SNT) for a child with disabilities. They worry about complexity and cost and that they'll be faced with difficult decisions. They may finally be prompted to call an [...]

2021-01-18T10:34:05-05:00

Using Private Trustees to Administer Special Needs Trusts

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance members Gregory Wilcox of Berkeley, California, and Dennis M. Sandoval, CELA of Riverside, 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); co-author of Special Needs Trusts: Planning, Drafting, and Administration and of California Elder Law Resources, Benefits, and Planning; and a board member of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR) in San Francisco. Dennis M. Sandoval, PLC, in Riverside, California specializes in estate planning for families with special needs loved ones. He is a member of the Special Needs Alliance and the only attorney in California with certifications as a Certified Estate Planning, Trust and Probate Law Specialist, Certified Taxation Law Specialist and Certified Elder Law Attorney. He is also the Director of Education for the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys and a co-author of Special Needs Trusts: Planning, Drafting, and Administration.

2021-01-11T10:15:16-05:00

Tax Tips for Families with Special Needs

By Richard L. Sayre, Esq., Spokane, WA It's time to begin organizing your tax documents, an exercise that can be particularly confusing when a family member has special needs. Here are some suggestions to bear in mind. Exemptions and Deductions When a loved one has special needs, the cost of health care is usually a [...]

2021-01-11T10:14:14-05:00

Updating Your Special Needs Trust – Begin with a Self Review

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Pacheco, California, Special Needs Alliance member Stephen W. Dale, Esq. of The Dale Law Firm, PC. Steve is a disability rights advocate and attorney dedicated to providing quality estate planning. He is a frequent speaker on a variety of disability related topics across the country. Steve regularly teaches courses to the public, financial professionals, and other attorneys on special needs trusts and trust administration. Additionally, he serves as the trustee for the Golden State Pooled Trust. Steve offers numerous videos and handouts to the public and his colleagues at www.achievingindependence.com.

2021-01-11T10:13:56-05:00

Your Special Needs Trust (“SNT”) Defined

The Voice is the email newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Amy C. O`Hara, CELA, an attorney with the New York law firm of Littman Krooks LLP. Her practice focuses on special needs planning, trust administration, guardianships, elder law, veterans' benefits and estate planning and administration. Amy is a member of the Special Needs Alliance and active participant of the publications committee. She is also a member of the New York State Bar Association. Amy graduated from the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School.

2021-01-18T10:30:40-05:00

Structured Settlements Don’t Always Make Sense

By Evan Krame When an individual with disabilities is anticipating a personal injury award, spreading guaranteed payments over time through a "structured settlement" is a popular option. The attractive features of annuitizing a recovery don't always work well, however, for people with special needs. The best reason to support structured settlements is to have payouts [...]

2021-01-11T10:12:39-05:00

When a Family Member Serves as Trustee – “Fair and Honest Is Not Enough”

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment's author is Edward V. Wilcenski, Esq., a founding partner of the law firm of Wilcenski & Pleat PLLC in Clifton Park, New York. He practices in the areas of special needs planning, elder law, and trust and estate planning and administration. A member and past president of the Special Needs Alliance, Ed writes and lectures frequently on issues affecting individuals with disabilities and their families.

2021-01-08T13:05:11-05:00

Special Needs Trusts and the Purchase of a Vehicle

This issue of The Voice was written by Special Needs Alliance member Patricia A. Nelson-Reade, Esq., an attorney with Nelson-Reade Law Office, P.C. of Portland, Maine. Her practice focuses on special needs planning, elder law and estate planning and administration. Patricia is also a registered nurse. She has been selected by her peers for inclusion in the Best Lawyers in America, been recognized as a "super lawyer" by the New England Super Lawyers publication for her work in elder law, and was named in the Inaugural Edition of the U.S. News Best Lawyers, Best Law Firms, again in the area of elder law. Patricia has continuously received the highest rating in ethics and has been classified as a preeminent lawyer under the Martindale-Hubbell peer review. She often lectures to the public and professionals on special needs planning and special needs trusts.

2021-01-08T13:04:52-05:00

SNAP! Food Assistance for Persons with Disabilities

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Laurie Hanson, Esq., a shareholder in the Minneapolis, Minnesota elder law firm of Long, Reher & Hanson, P.A. The firm's focus is to provide positive strategies to individuals who are aging or living with disabilities to enable them to live as independently as possible for as long as possible. Laurie concentrates her practice exclusively in the areas of government benefit eligibility, special needs trusts, trust and public benefit litigation, estate planning and planning for incapacity. She is the past president of the Elder Law Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association and is repeatedly named a Super Lawyer in the field of elder law by her peers.

2021-01-08T13:04:03-05:00

Funding a Special Needs Trust with Life Insurance

This issue of The Voice is written by Ken W. Shulman, Esq. who is a partner in the Boston, Massachusetts, office of Day Pitney LLP. Ken focuses his practice on estate planning and related issues for families who have children with disabilities and on elder law. He has served as a board member for several human service agencies including the Greater Boston ARC and presently serves as a board member for the Asperger's Association of New England. He also serves on the Combined Jewish Philanthropies Committee on Disabilities and previously served on the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. He is a co-author of Managing a Special Needs Trust, People with Disabilities Press (2010). Ken often serves as a trustee of special needs trusts at his clients' request.

Ken is a member of the Special Needs Alliance, a national, non-profit organization committed to helping individuals with disabilities, their families, and the professionals who represent them. Contact information for a member in your state can be obtained by calling toll-free 1-877-572-8472, or by visiting: www.specialneedsalliance.org.

2021-01-18T10:29:46-05:00

Buying a House – More Questions

This issue of The Voice is written by Martha C. Brown, CELA, a Special Needs Alliance member in St. Louis, Missouri. Martha limits her practice to elder law and special needs law. A Fellow of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and a Certified Elder Law Attorney, Martha has been designated a Super Lawyer for the last six years in Kansas City Magazine. Through her numerous community presentations and continuing legal education presentations, Martha helps attorneys and the public understand and address legal issues concerning the elderly and people with disabilities. Currently Martha is participating in the state wide task force to rewrite the guardianship code in Missouri.

2021-01-08T13:02:06-05:00

A Few Thoughts about Special Needs Planning for Mental Illness

By Shawn Majette, Esq. Advance planning is essential in providing for the well-being of an individual with severe mental illness. The shifting presentation of its symptoms, however, demands an adjustable approach. While even a person with severe mental illness may usually be perfectly competent, modest changes in circumstances can rapidly cause a sharp and devastating [...]

2021-01-08T12:59:10-05:00

Is a Qualified Disability Trust Appropriate?

The Voice is the email newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Elizabeth L. Gray, Esq., of the Fairfax, Virginia law firm of Cossa, Gray and O'Reilly, PLC, where she focuses her practice on special needs planning, elder law and general estate planning and administration. Elizabeth writes and lectures frequently on issues affecting seniors, individuals with disabilities and their families. She has been recognized as one of the best attorneys in Washingtonian Magazine and Northern Virginia Magazine and has been selected as a Super Lawyer for Washington D.C. and Virginia.

Readers of this article are referred to the January 24, 2012 issue of The Voice, "A Short Primer on Trusts and Taxation" by Special Needs Alliance members Barbara S. Hughes and Tara Anne Pleat, that they may want to review in conjunction with this article.

2021-01-18T10:33:13-05:00

A Short Primer on Trusts and Trust Taxation

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance members Barbara Hughes, Esq. of Madison, Wisconsin and Tara Anne Pleat, Esq. of Clifton Park, New York. Barbara is a partner in the law firm of Hill, Glowacki, Jaeger & Hughes, LLP, where her practice is focused on special needs planning, elder law, and general estate planning and administration. A Fellow and past board member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), in recent years she has consistently been recognized as one of the city's best attorneys in Madison Magazine and selected as a Wisconsin estate planning and probate Super Lawyer in Law and Politics Magazine, ranking since 2009 as one of Wisconsin's 25 top women attorneys. 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.

2021-01-22T15:26:19-05:00

Using Pooled Trusts In Estate Planning

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Stuart D. Zimring, Esq. of North Hollywood, California. Mr. Zimring is the lead author of "Fundamentals of Special Needs Trusts" and co-author of "California Guide to Tax, Estate & Financial Planning for the Elderly" (both published by LexisNexis). He is certified as a specialist in Estate Planning, Probate and Trust Law by the Board of Specialization of the State Bar of California and is a Fellow of both the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and the American College of Trust & Estate Counsel. He serves on the boards of directors of several not-for-profit organizations focusing on the needs of seniors and those with disabilities, including ONEgeneration in Southern California and the National Senior Citizens Law Center.

2021-01-22T15:25:22-05:00

Accessible Transportation Is Key to Independence

By Richard A. Courtney, CELA Accessible transportation is central to quality of life for individuals with disabilities. Unfortunately, it's just one more public service that has fallen victim to budget-cutting. I know that what I'm observing here in Jackson, Mississippi, is replicated throughout the U.S. Too few routes and wheelchair-accessible buses to support a growing [...]

2021-01-08T12:57:13-05:00

The Trust Protector as Insurance Policy

By Robert B. Fleming, CELA Planning for the lifelong care of a loved one with special needs is daunting. Even the most carefully constructed special needs trust can't be expected to account for all contingencies. Appointing a trust protector can provide added security when you're no longer able to monitor the trust's management yourself. Because [...]

2021-01-08T12:55:26-05:00

Special Needs Information on the Internet: Proceed with Caution

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment’s author is Edward V. Wilcenski, Esq., a founding partner of the law firm of Wilcenski & Pleat PLLC in Clifton Park, New York. He practices in the areas of special needs planning, elder law and trust and estate planning and administration. A member and past president of the Special Needs Alliance, Ed writes and lectures frequently on issues affecting individuals with disabilities and their families.

2021-01-08T12:55:19-05:00

FIND YOUR ATTORNEY