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.

Letter of Intent

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Larry Rocamora of Durham, North Carolina. Mr. Rocamora is a partner in the Durham law firm of McPherson Rocamora & Nicholson, PLLC, where his practice is focused on special needs planning and general estate planning. Mr. Rocamora is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, and he has been selected as a Super Lawyer for each of the past four years.

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The Military’s Survivor Benefit Plan and the Disabled Child

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. of Arlington, Virginia. Ms. Thompson is the author of "Trust Administration in Virginia" (published by the Virginia Bar Foundation) and the "Adult Incapacity" chapter of the Virginia Lawyer Deskbook, and she is an active volunteer with The ARC of Northern Virginia. She also serves as counsel for the pooled special needs trust for The ARC of Northern Virginia, and she is a member of the Legal Advisors group for the National Capital Chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society. Ms. Thompson's readable article "Planning for Individuals with Special Needs" is available online.

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Special Needs Trusts and “Qualified Disability Trusts”

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This issue is devoted to a timely topic: taxes. Alliance member Ron M. Landsman, Esq. of Rockville, Maryland, addresses some common questions about taxation of special needs trusts.

Mr. Landsman is co-author (with fellow Alliance member Robert B. Fleming of Tucson, Arizona) of a short but detailed analysis of the federal income tax provision that classifies some (but not all) special needs trusts as "Qualified Disability Trusts" (or QDisTs). Their article is available on the Special Needs Alliance's website, along with other informative articles by Alliance members. In fact, members of the Special Needs Alliance are frequent contributors to the leading journals and publications on special needs issues; another detailed tax article (this one by Alliance member Dennis Sandoval of Riverside, California) recently appeared in the NAELA News, a quarterly publication of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. Mr. Sandoval's article is also available on the Alliance's website.

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Generational Planning: When the Caregiver Needs Help

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Richard Sayre, of Spokane, Washington. Mr. Sayre is a Certified Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation, and his practice emphasizes planning for disability for both elders and individuals with special needs. He is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Gonzaga University School of Law, and has served as a Trustee on the Elder Law Section of the Washington State Bar Association, and on the Washington State Professional Guardian Certification Board, as well as other professional organizations working to improve quality of life and protection for those with special needs.

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Planning for Multiple Generations

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Gregory S. French, CELA of Cincinnati, Ohio, a Certified Elder Law Attorney who has, among other honors, been named as an Ohio SuperLawyer for each of the past five years.  Mr. French also serves on the Executive Committee of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. For 32 years he has helped families to maximize the independence and quality of life of older and disabled persons, to obtain and pay for health and long-term care in ways that preserve family resources, and to plan for disability or death through wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and health care directives.

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Peering Into the Crystal Ball: Planning for Potential Disability

The Voice is the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Nancy Gibson, Esq., who practices in Missoula, Montana (in Montana's "banana belt"). Ms. Gibson's practice is limited to special needs planning, elder law and estate planning. She is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, and finished her term as a member of the Special Needs Alliance Board earlier this year. Ms. Gibson has been very active in local, state and national advocacy and support groups, and frequently deals with the need for crystal ball gazing.

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Choosing an Attorney to Help With Special Needs Planning

You are reading The Voice, the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Scott Suzuki, Esq., of Honolulu, Hawaii. Mr. Suzuki's law practice emphasizes planning for those individuals with special needs (and their families). He is a lawyer and assistant instructor for the University of Hawaii Elder Law Program, a clinical program operated by the William S. Richardson School of Law. Mr. Suzuki is also the author of the regular Legal Briefs column for Generations Hawaii

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Is My Money Safe?

You are reading The Voice, 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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Alliance Praises Passage of ADA Amendments Act

On September 11, 2008, the U.S. Congress passed the ADA Amendments Act and sent it to President Bush for his signature. The Act boldly reaffirms the U.S. commitment to ending [...]

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Realistically Assessing an Exceptional Child’s Future

You are reading The Voice, the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment is a very moving, personal and true story from Special Needs Alliance member Barbara Isenhour, Esq. of Seattle, Washington. She has practiced law for over 33 years, focusing on the legal issues facing the elderly and disabled persons of all ages. Barbara was selected as one of the city's best attorneys in Seattle Magazine for three years and has been selected as a "Super Lawyer" in Law and Politics Magazine for the past five years.

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Planning Your Estate: When a “Simple Will” Won’t Suffice

You are reading The Voice, the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Hyman Darling, Esq. of Springfield, Massachusetts. Mr. Darling is a shareholder in the law firm of Bacon & Wilson, P.C.His practice is primarily focused on estate planning, particularly planning for families including a member with a disability. Mr. Darling also lectures and writes on estate planning topics extensively, and is very active in his local community. He is certified by the National Elder Law Foundation as a Certified Elder Law Attorney.

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Insurance and Other Concerns for Parent/Caregiver

You are reading The Voice, the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Donna Bashaw of Laguna Hills, California. Ms. Bashaw is a former President of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, and she is certified by the National Elder Law Foundation as a Certified Elder Law Attorney.

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Remembering Harriet McBryde Johnson

You are reading The Voice, the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. Rather than our usual newsletter format (including tips, answers to reader's questions and explanations for special needs practitioners and families), this issue is a short memorial from the President of the Alliance to recognize the passing of a singular individual who advocated for all persons with disabilities. In fact, as President Andrew H. Hook, CELA notes, her advocacy transcended barriers originating from "disability" labels.

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Economic Stimulus Payments and TV Converter Box Coupons

This issue of The Voice, the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance, was written by SNA member Raymon B. Harvey, Esq., an AV-rated sole practitioner in Little Rock, Arkansas. You can read more about Mr. Harvey, and his practice, at his office's website, which provides additional information about Special Needs Trusts and related issues such as Guardianship and Conservatorship, Medicaid eligibility, and other topics of concern to those with disabilities and their caretaker families.

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Our Readers’ (That Is, Your) Questions

You are reading The Voice, the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member William King Self, Jr., CELA, of Memphis, Tennessee. Mr. Self is a Certified Elder Law Attorney, recognized by both the National Elder Law Foundation and the Tennessee Commission on Continuing Legal Education and Specialization. He is of counsel to the Memphis law firm of Apperson, Crump & Maxwell, and both he and the firm are rated AV by Martindale-Hubbell, the oldest and most significant lawyer rating service. A Tennessee reader of The Voice wrote to ask a series of questions about special needs planning, and Mr. Self has graciously undertaken to provide some answers -- and assistance.

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An Introduction to "In-kind Support and Maintenance"

You are reading The Voice, the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Raymon B. Harvey, Esq., who is an AV-rated sole practitioner in Little Rock, Arkansas. You can read more about Mr. Harvey, and his practice, at his office's website, which provides additional information about Special Needs Trusts and related issues such as Guardianship and Conservatorship, Medicaid eligibility, and other topics of concern to those with disabilities and their caretaker families.

Income Tax Benefits for Families With Special Needs Children

You are reading The Voice, the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Robert B. Fleming, CELA, of Tucson, Arizona. Mr. Fleming is a partner in the law firm of Fleming & Curti, PLC. In addition to his membership in the Special Needs Alliance, Mr. Fleming is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel and of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. He writes and lectures widely on special needs and elder law issues, including taxation of special needs trusts.

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Moving a Special Needs Trust to a New State

You are reading The Voice, the e-mail newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Bridget O’Brien Swartz, CELA. Ms. Swartz is with the Law Office of Bridget O'Brien Swartz, PLLC, in Phoenix, Arizona. Her practice focuses on public benefits and special needs planning for individuals who are disabled. She is a member of the Special Needs Alliance's Board of Directors. Ms. Swartz is certified by the State Bar of Arizona as a specialist in Estate and Trust Law, and she is also certified by the National Elder Law Foundation as a Certified Elder Law Attorney.

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What Can a Special Needs Trust Pay For?

You are reading The Voice, a newsletter published by The Special Needs Alliance. Our purpose is to provide information--and answers--about special needs planning for family members and professionals. We hope this newsletter helps you. We would love to hear your questions, suggestions and comments; please feel free to e-mail us. We also encourage you to forward our newsletter to others who might benefit from the information here, or who might have similar questions.

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