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.

Life Insurance on a Child with Special Needs: Benefits and Challenges

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by SNA member Hyman Darling, Esq., a partner in the Springfield, Massachusetts, firm of Bacon Wilson, P.C. Mr. Darling concentrates his practice in estate planning, elder law, probate, special needs and guardianships/conservatorships. Before joining Bacon Wilson, he was a trust officer for several years. A frequent speaker for civic and charitable organizations, he serves on the American Cancer Society National Professional Advisory Committee and the boards of several western Massachusetts nonprofit organizations for persons with disabilities. He is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys Board of Directors.

Planning Options With Retirement Benefits

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Ken W. Shulman, Esq., a partner in the Boston, Massachusetts office of Day Pitney LLP. His practice includes estate planning and related issues for families who have children with disabilities, and elder law. He presently serves on the board of the Asperger's Association of New England and on the Combined Jewish Philanthropies Committee on Disabilities. He previously served on the board of the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. He is a co-author of Special Needs Trust Administration Manual, A Guide for Trustees, available through DisABILITIESBOOKS.

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Retirement Accounts and Government Benefits

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance members Edward V. Wilcenski, Esq. and Tara Anne Pleat, Esq..

EDWARD V. WILCENSKI, Esq., is a founding partner of the law firm of Jones 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.

TARA ANNE PLEAT, Esq. is a founding partner of the law firm of Jones Wilcenski & Pleat PLLC in Clifton Park, New York. She focuses her practice in the areas of special needs planning, trust & estate planning and administration, long term care planning and elder law. Tara is a member of the Special Needs Alliance, frequently speaking on estate planning and administration, special needs planning and related disability issues for state and local bar associations and community organizations.

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Crummey Doesn’t Mean Lousy

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment 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 of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Amos is also a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel

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Your Special Needs Trust Explained

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. Amy is an attorney with Littman Krooks LLP with offices in New York City, White Plains, NY and Fishkill, NY. Most of her work involves helping people with special needs planning (trusts, guardianships and government entitlements), estate planning and administration (wills and trusts), elder law issues (Medicaid and Medicare, Veterans' Benefits, guardianships).

Being Prepared For a Disaster

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member, Mark Shalloway, CELA of West Palm Beach, Florida. Mr. Shalloway is a certified elder law attorney (by the National Elder Law Foundation), and is a member of the charter class of attorneys board certified in elder law by the Florida Bar Association. He has practiced law since 1989, and is a past president of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. His practice primarily includes elder law and special needs planning.

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What happens when persons living with disabilities marry?

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance members Edward V. Wilcenski, Esq. and Laurie Hanson, Esq.. Ed Wilcenski is a partner in the Clifton Park, New York law firm of Jones Wilcenski & Pleat PLLC. His practice is focused entirely on Special Needs Estate Planning, Elder Law, and Trust & Estate Planning and Administration. He is a former President of the Special Needs Alliance, and is a frequent author and lecturer on topics involving special needs trusts and estate planning for individuals with disabilities and their families.

Laurie Hanson is a shareholder in the Minneapolis, Minnesota elder law firm of Long, Reher & Hanson, P.A. whose 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. Ms. Hanson 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.

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Housecleaning? Please Don’t Pitch These Records!

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Janet Lowder, CELA; Sandra J. Buzney, JD, LISW and Mary B. McKee, JD, who practice law in northeast Ohio with Hickman & Lowder Co., L.P.A. Janet and Sandra are members of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA); Mary belongs to the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives (NOSSCR). Janet is also the Vice President of the Special Needs Alliance, a national organization committed to helping individuals with disabilities, their families, and the professionals who represent them.

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Signing the Social Security Application

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member H. Amos Goodall, Jr., CELA, of State College, Pennsylvania. Mr. Goodall is a Certified Elder Law Attorney (by the National Elder Law Foundation), and has practiced law since 1976. He is also a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, and a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. Mr. Goodall primarily works in special needs and elder law planning, business organization planning, and real estate and business litigation.

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Life Insurance and Children With a Disability

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Hyman Darling, Esq., a partner in the Springfield, MA firm of Bacon Wilson, P.C. (https://www.baconwilson.com/) where he concentrates in estate planning, elder law, probate, special needs and guardianships / conservatorships. Before joining Bacon Wilson, he was a trust officer for several years. He is a frequent speaker for civic and charitable organizations. Please visit Mr. Darling's online profile for a complete list of his qualifications and accomplishments.

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18, 19, 21 Candles on that Cake

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Barbara Hughes, Esq. of Madison, Wisconsin, who comes to her interest in facilitating the best in special education experiences from her long past "life" as a sixth grade teacher. Ms. Hughes is a partner in the Madison 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, in recent years she (along with several of her law partners) 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 in 2009 as one of Wisconsin's 25 top women attorneys.

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Pooled Trusts for Individuals with Special Needs

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Cora A. Alsante, Esq. and Syracuse University law student Camille Castro. Ms. Castro was a 2009 summer intern at the law firm of Hancock & Estabrook in Syracuse, where Ms. Alsante is a partner. In addition to her work at Hancock & Estabrook, Ms. Alsante was an adjunct professor at Syracuse University College of Law, where she taught elder law. Ms. Alsante has also been named as a New York Super Lawyer in elder law, estate planning and probate. Ms. Alsante is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, and a long-time member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.

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Taxes and Special Needs Trusts

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Lisa Nachmias Davis, CELA and Shawn L. O'Sullivan, who practice law in New Haven Connecticut as two-thirds of the firm Davis O'Sullivan & Priest LLC. Lisa is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. Shawn has handled trust accounting and tax returns for over twenty-five years. Lisa is a member of the Special Needs Alliance, a national organization committed to helping individuals with disabilities, their families, and the professionals who represent them.

Estate Planning for People with Disabilities

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This issue was written by Special Needs Alliance member Jason Frank, CELA, the founding partner in the law firm of Frank, Frank & Scherr, LLC, of Lutherville, Maryland. Mr. Frank's practice addresses the legal consequences of common age-related disabilities. Locate a Special Needs Alliance member in your state by visiting the Alliance's website.

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Medicare Premium Rules Will Affect Some Large Trusts

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Nancy Gibson, Esq., a Montana elder law and disability law attorney. Her Missoula-based practice spans the state of Montana. She is a member and past director of The Special Needs Alliance, an invitation-only organization of attorneys specializing in special needs and settlement planning. She is actively involved with the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), an organization dedicated to improving the lives of the elderly and persons with special needs. She currently is serving a second two-year term on the NAELA board of directors. Ms. Gibson limits her practice to elder and disability law, including estate planning and administration, but the majority of her cases involve special needs trusts and/or settlement planning.

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Advocacy for Parents of Children with Disabilities

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Lois M. Zerrer, whose practice is in Springfield, Missouri. She focuses on estate planning, Medicaid, Medicare, probate and veteran's benefits. She has served as president of the Missouri Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and as chair of The Missouri Bar Elder Law Committee. She is the principal attorney in the Zerrer Elder Law Office, LLC, in Springfield.

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The Secret of When Less Is More

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Peter J. Losavio, Jr., CELA, an attorney with Losavio & DeJean, LLC in New Orleans and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He is certified as an elder law attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation. He is a Louisiana Board Certified Estate Planning and Administration Specialist, and a Louisiana Board Certified Tax Specialist. Mr. Losavio is a charter member of the Life Care Planning Law Firms Association, and he is a member of the Society of Louisiana CPAs. Mr. Losavio obtained a Juris Doctorate degree from Louisiana State University and a Master of Law in Taxation from the University of Florida. Mr. Losavio's practice is limited to asset protection, life care planning and estate and tax planning.

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Top Ten Tips When Planning For Special Needs

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance members Richard E. Davis, CELA and Jennifer L. Lile, CELA, both of whom focus their practices on estate planning, special needs planning and elder law. Rick is a Certified Specialist in Estate Planning, a Certified Elder Law Attorney, a Fellow of the American College of Trust & Estate Counsel, has been listed in Best Lawyers in America each year since 2003, has been designated as an Ohio Super Lawyer, and is included on the Top 100 Attorneys List for the state of Ohio. Jennifer and Rick are both frequent speakers on the topic of special needs planning, and they have co-authored numerous articles on that topic.

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What Property May a Person Receiving SSI Own?

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. The author of this installment, John S. Kitchen, Esq., has written articles published by the National College of Probate Judges and the Research Institute of America (RIA), and has drafted special needs trusts legislation enacted into law in New Hampshire. John has given presentations concerning special needs trusts at national conferences of the National Guardianship Association, ARC, National PLAN Alliance and Special Needs Alliance, as well as at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. in a program sponsored by the National Disability Institute. John has a family member with disabilities, and he is a member of the Special Needs Alliance.

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“I’m Glad She Did That”

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Robert L. McClelland, CELA of Lexington, Kentucky. Mr. McClelland is the managing member in the Lexington law firm of McClelland & Associates, PLLC, where his practice is focused on special needs planning, elder law and general estate planning.

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