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.
A Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipient is eligible to receive a monthly cash benefit when the Social Security Administration (SSA) determines that, among other eligibility criteria, the recipient’s income and resources fall below certain limits. Generally, the SSA includes funds held in trust for the benefit of the recipient towards this resource limit; however, funds [...]
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.
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 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.
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.
The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member and current president Scott Suzuki, Esq. of Honolulu, Hawaii. Mr. Suzuki's law practice emphasizes planning for individuals with special needs and their families. He serves on the board of The Arc of Hawaii and is a founding member of Aloha Independent Living Hawaii; former vice president of Family Voices, which facilitates community-based, family-centered care for children with special needs; and a longtime volunteer with the University of Hawaii Elder Law Program.
This installment of the Voice was written by Special Needs Alliance member Barbara Isenhour, Esq., of the firm of Somers Tamblyn King Isenhour Bleck, PLLC in Seattle, Washington. Barbara's practice focuses on government benefits for individuals with disabilities and estate planning for families with children who have special needs. A board member of Full Life Care in Seattle, Barbara frequently lectures around the state of Washington on issues involving special needs trusts and government benefits for the elderly and individuals with disabilities.
This issue of the Voice was written by Special Needs Alliance member Lois M. Zerrer. Lois has practiced Elder and Special Needs Law in Springfield, Missouri for over thirteen years and speaks frequently on these topics for Special Needs professionals and families.
The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Kelly A. Thompson, Esq.. Kelly has been a lawyer for 37 years, practicing law in Arlington, Virginia for the last 21 years. She is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) and a frequent lecturer on special needs planning. Her clients include many military families and she was active in lobbying for passage of the Disabled Military Child Protection Act. Her practice focuses on planning for individuals with disabilities and the elderly, special needs trusts, trust administration and estate planning.
This installment of the Voice was written by Robert B. Fleming, CELA. Robert is a partner in Fleming & Curti, PLC, a Tucson law firm focusing on special needs planning, trust administration, guardianship/conservatorship and estate planning. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, and also of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. He has been a member of the Special Needs Alliance since its founding, and was one of the original co-authors of the SNA's Handbook for Trustees, the free online guide to managing special needs trusts.
The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Martha C. Brown, CELA, a Special Needs Alliance member in St. Louis, Missouri. Martha Martha Brownlimits 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. 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 statewide task force to rewrite the guardianship code in Missouri.
Distributions from Special Needs Trusts: In Kind Distributions, Credit Cards, Gift Cards, or Debit Cards
You are the trustee of a special needs trust. Your beneficiary (Beth) lives in public housing, receives SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and MA (Medical Assistance), and has just asked you for a $200 gift card to Target so that she can buy headphones, clothes, toiletries, and some food. Remember, a special needs trust (SNT) is [...]
This installment of the Voice was written by H. Amos Goodall, Jr., CELA of the State College, Pennsylvania law firm Goodall & Yurchak, P.C. His practice emphasizes estate planning and implementation for elders, persons with special needs and their families. A member of the Special Needs Alliance and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Amos is also a Fellow of the American College of Trusts and Estates Counsel. Amos wrote this article in consultation with Officer Kelly Aston of the State College Bureau of Police Services, State College, Pennsylvania.
The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Kelly A. Thompson, Esq.. Kelly has been a lawyer for 36 years, practicing law in Arlington, Virginia for the last 20 years. Her clients include many military families, and her practice focuses on planning for individuals with disabilities and the elderly, special needs trusts, trust administration and estate planning.
There is an increasing trend to admit Medicare beneficiaries for "observation" as outpatients rather than admitting them as regular hospital patients. This practice may prevent patients from obtaining proper inpatient and post-hospital care under Medicare. Since many individuals with disabilities depend on Medicare as their primary health insurance coverage, this practice can have a serious [...]
A fairly recent court decision, In the Matter of Mark C.H., involved the obligations of the trustee of a special needs trust, and serves as the focus of this issue of The Voice. The case involved an accounting proceeding brought by the co-trustees of a supplemental needs trust established for Mark, an autistic man living [...]
If you want to set aside money for the education of a child (or a grandchild, or anyone else), you can choose from a variety of options. One popular choice is to establish a "529 Plan" fund. These education accounts are named after the tax code section authorizing their use, and they make it easy [...]
Any child can be a victim of bullying or harassment, but research has shown that children with special needs are both more likely to be bullied or harassed and also more likely to be seriously harmed by it. In addition, children with special needs may be less likely to be able to seek help to [...]
As lawyers in elder and disability practices, Special Needs Alliance members have many experiences that feed our empathy and understanding, but not all of us have parents with dementia or a child with a disability. One thing we have learned, though, over many years of practice, is that if you have seen one child or [...]