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.

SSI Overpayments: How Does It Happen and What Can One Do?

This issue of The Voice was written by Special Needs Alliance member Tara Anne Pleat, Esq., 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Charitable Intentions – Uncharitable Results

The Voice is the email newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Mary Alice Jackson, Esq., a member of the Special Needs Alliance and active participant on its Public Policy Committee. She is a partner at Boyer & Jackson, P.A., with offices in Sarasota, Florida, and Austin, Texas. Her practice includes special needs and long-term care planning, estate planning, probate and end-of-life issues. Mary Alice is also an active member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, a past Chair of the Florida Bar Elder Law Section, and an adjunct professor in the Stetson University College of Law Elder LL.M. program.

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Citizenship Status and Disability Benefits

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Barbara Isenhour, Esq., of the firm of Isenhour Bleck, PLLC in Seattle, Washington. The firm focuses on government benefits for individuals with disabilities and estate planning for families with special needs children. A board member of NAMI Eastside in Redmond, Washington, and 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 disabled.

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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.

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What Are You Waiting For?

This week's installment comes from Special Needs Alliance co-founder Robert B. Fleming, CELA, an attorney at Fleming & Curti, PLC, in Tucson, Arizona. Robert is a long-time advocate for those with disabilities and their families. He and his firm help with estate planning, guardianship, and trust administration (including special needs trust administration). Robert is also an author and a frequent lecturer on special needs issues.

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Private Disability Insurance

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance members Lisa Nachmias Davis, CELA of the New Haven, Connecticut law firm of Davis O'Sullivan & Priest, LLC, where her practice concentrates on elder law, planning for those with special needs, estate planning and administration, and advice to not-for-profit organizations. A member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) and the Connecticut Bar Association's Elder Law Section executive Committee, in 2011 she was named one of the 25 best women lawyers in Connecticut and one of the top 50 women lawyers in New England by SuperLawyers, a Thompson Reuters business that rates attorneys.

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Benefits for Special Needs Children of Civil Service Employees

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Sandra L. Smith, CELA who is a law partner with Andrew Hook, a Special Needs Alliance member from the law firm of Oast & Hook, P.C. in Suffolk and Virginia Beach, Virginia. She is the editor of the firm's weekly newsletter, the "Oast & Hook News," which is available on the firm's website and is certified as an elder law attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation. Sandra is the co-author of the "Special Needs Trusts" chapter for the Elder Law in Virginia handbook published by Virginia CLE. She retired from the United States Air Force as a Lieutenant Colonel with over 20 years active duty service, and earned her law degree from the College of William and Mary School of Law.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Dear Grandma and Grandpa…

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of the Special Needs Alliance. This installment 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. Ed is a past President of the Special Needs Alliance, and writes and lectures frequently on issues affecting individuals with disabilities and their families

Long-time readers of The Voice know that we rarely repeat an issue. In the world of disability there are many important topics to choose from, so the challenge has really been in deciding which topics are of most interest to our readers rather than finding something interesting in the first place. Because the Voice has many new readers each year, we know that many of our current readers may have missed this article when it first appeared in November of 2010. With this in mind, we've decided to reprint this article written by Edward V. Wilcenski, hoping that it may catch newer readers before they make their final decisions on how to make holiday gifts to their family members and friends with disabilities.

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Is There a Place for a Family Member with Special Needs in The Family Business?

Jefferey Yussman, Esq. is a member of the Estate Planning Group of Wyatt Tarrant & Combs, LLP, in Louisville, Kentucky, where he chairs the firm's special needs planning practice. His practice is concentrated in the areas of estate planning and administration, business succession planning and charitable planning, but the birth of his two special needs children 20 years ago led him into the sub-specialty of planning for individuals with special needs. In addition to the Special Needs Alliance (where he is a member of the board), Mr Yussman is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, and is listed in America's Best Lawyers, Estate Planning (Kentucky estate planner of the year in 2010) and Elder Law, as well as Kentucky Super Lawyers. Mr. Yussman is the current board chairman of Wellspring, a Kentucky organization providing crisis stabilization and housing supports for mentally ill adults, and is a current executive board member of The Community Foundation of Louisville.

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Work History Requirements for Social Security Disability Insurance

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Gregory Wilcox, of the Law Office of Gregory Wilcox in Berkeley, California. His firm focuses on government benefits and estate planning for the elderly and for individuals with disabilities. Greg is a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA); co-author of Special Needs Trusts: Planning, Drafting, and Administration and California Elder Law Resources, Benefits, and Planning; and a board member of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR) in San Francisco. Other articles he has written can be found on the CANHR website.

How Work Can Affect Title II Disability Benefits Part II: Ticket to Work and Extension of Medicare and Medicaid Benefits

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Barbara Isenhour, Esq., of the firm of Isenhour Bleck, PLLC in Seattle, Washington. The firm focuses on government benefits for individuals with disabilities and estate planning for families with special needs children. A board member of NAMI Eastside in Redmond, Washington, and 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 disabled.

Title II Disability Work Rules Part I: Will I Lose My Disability Benefits if I Try to Work?

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Barbara Isenhour, Esq., of the firm of Isenhour Bleck, PLLC in Seattle, Washington. The firm focuses on government benefits for individuals with disabilities and estate planning for families with special needs children. A board member of NAMI Eastside in Redmond, Washington, and 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 disabled.

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.

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