The Voice®2019-05-23T16:45:16-04:00

The Voice is SNA’s newsletter, written by our member attorneys for the benefit of families, other attorneys and professionals who work with the special needs community.

These are in depth articles that address the complex issues we each face.

Transferring Guardianship Across State Lines

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.

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SSI Rules for Students

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.

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Political Advocacy by Parents of Children 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.

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Disabled Military Child Protection Act Policy Issued

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.

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Income Taxes and Special Needs

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.

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Representative Payee for Social Security Benefits

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.

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Distributions from Special Needs Trusts: In Kind Distributions, Credit Cards, Gift Cards, or Debit Cards

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 to individuals who are aging or living with disabilities positive strategies 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.

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Telephone Scams Preying on Vulnerable Adults

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.

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Disabled Military Child Protection Act

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.

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Medicare Observation Status: Denying Medicare Coverage for Skilled Nursing Home Care

This installment of the Voice was written by Linnea J. Levine who is a Certified Elder Law Attorney in Westport, Connecticut. Her law practice (www.linnealevine.com) focuses on elder law, special needs planning and advocacy including guardian and conservator matters, hospital discharge plan issues, public benefits, trusts and estates and probate. Linnea is a past president of the Connecticut chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and currently serves on the chapter's public policy committee.

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A Wake up Call for Professional Trustees and Parents

This installment of the Voice was written by Special Needs Alliance member 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 past president of the Special Needs Alliance, Ed writes and lectures frequently on issues affecting individuals with disabilities and their families.

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The ABLE Act – A New Tool for Special Needs 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.

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Bullying of the Special Needs Child and What Parents Can Do

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Amy C. O`Hara, CELA and her co-author, Marion Walsh. Amy is a partner with the New York law firm Littman Krooks LLP, specializing in special needs planning, guardianships, elder law, estate planning and administration, and personal injury settlement consulting. Marion is an attorney with Littman Krooks LLP who focuses her practice on special and general education advocacy. Marion has worked in education law for over 15 years and has been an advocate for children in many capacities. She is a graduate of NYU Law School.

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Recommended Books for the Special Needs Community

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 individuals who are aging or living with disabilities positive strategies 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.

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Summary of Disability Benefits

There are many federal government benefit programs available to individuals with disabilities. Programs are often referred to by confusing acronyms (LIEAP, SNAP, QMB, to name just a few) and some programs are very different but sound similar (for instance, Medicare and Medicaid or SSI and SSDI). The following chart lists the most common federal government […]

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Child Support for an Adult Child with Disabilities

The Voice is the email newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Craig C. Reaves, CELA of Reaves Law Firm, PC. in Kansas City, Missouri. Holding the CELA (Certified Elder Law Attorney) designation from the National Elder Law Foundation, he is a Past President and Fellow of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and a Fellow of the American College of Trust & Estate Counsel (ACTEC). He is listed in Best Lawyers in America and has been designated as a Missouri Super Lawyer. Mr. Reaves is an adjunct professor of elder law at the law schools of the University of Kansas and the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He practices law in Kansas and Missouri with major emphasis in the areas of estate planning, elder law, special needs trusts, and planning for persons who have a disability.

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Naming a Special Needs Trust as Beneficiary of your IRA or Retirement Plan

This issue of the Voice was written by Special Needs Alliance member Lisa Nachmias Davis, CELA, a partner in the New Haven, Connecticut law firm of Davis O'Sullivan & Priest, LLC. Ms. Davis helps clients with estate planning, setting up or administering special needs trusts, qualifying for public benefits, and probate and estate settlement; she also represents charities and other nonprofit organizations. Her website is www.sharinglaw.net.

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Considerations when Initiating or Settling a Personal Injury Action

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 (2012). Ken often serves as a trustee of special needs trusts at his clients' request.

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Tax Tips for Parents of a Child with Special Needs

This issue of the Voice was written by Robert B. Fleming, CELA, a founding member of the Special Needs Alliance and a partner in the Tucson, Arizona, law firm of Fleming & Curti, PLC. Mr. Fleming represents family members who are guardians, conservators or trustees; he also frequently acts as trustee of special needs trusts. He travels and speaks extensively on taxation and trust administration issues. His website is at https://elder-law.com/.

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

This installment of the Voice was written by Special Needs Alliance member Tara Anne Pleat. Tara is a founding partner of the law firm of Wilcenski & Pleat PLLC (www.wplawny.com) 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.

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