2020 Special Needs Planning Symposium.

Sponsorships Available

Get your company or brand in front of leading fiduciaries and special needs attorneys during this intimate event. Held in Napa, CA at the beautiful Meritage Resort & Spa, Feb 7-9, 2020.

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Day One

Friday, Feb. 7th, 2020

Registration and Continental Breakfast

7:00am – 8:00am
Kevin Urbatsch & James Huyck

(Optional) Part I – Essential Public Benefits for Persons with Disabilities

8:00am – 10:00am

Understanding Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Childhood Disabled Beneficiary (CDB), Medi-Cal, Medicare, In Home Supportive Services, Regional Center, and Section 8.
This a joint session with the attorney & fiduciary track to discuss the essential public benefits available to persons with disabilities. This program is necessary to begin to master this area of practice. Without knowledge of what is (and is not) available through public benefits and the rules that govern them, there is no special needs planning. It is absolutely essential to know the public benefit rules when administering special needs trusts.

Break – Visit Exhibitors

10:00am – 10:20am
Moderator: Michele Fuller, Lisa Soloway, Tracy Regli, Frank Acuña, Herb Thomas, Ted Ong, Jeremy Lau & Meredith Taylor

(Optional Fiduciary Topic) Part II – SNT Administration Fundamentals

10:20am – 12:20pm

Evaluating SNT Cases; Using the Team Approach; Financial Decisions for Fiduciaries and Preparing a SNT Spending Plan; Dealing with Family Conflict in SNT Administration.
Part II is designed to provide the fiduciary with the tools on how to properly evaluate a case and onboard it successfully. A successful evaluation and onboarding process provides the best opportunity for the beneficiary, their family and the SNT trustee to work harmoniously throughout the administration. Once the initial evaluation is complete, the panel will discuss how the SNT trustee should set up and manage the team of professionals needed to ensure an appropriate, thorough, and proper administration. The panel then discusses the best way to set up an appropriate spending plan for the SNT beneficiary that takes into account investment limitations, cost of living adjustments, and risk. This session ends with a discussion of best practices for the SNT trustee when having to handle conflict with the beneficiary and their family on disbursements, spending plans, communications, and general grumpiness.
Kevin Urbatsch, Daniel Cutter & Jessica Farinas

(Optional Attorney topic) Part II: Drafting the World’s Greatest Third-Party Special Needs Trust

10:20 a.m. – 12:20 p.m.

Part II discusses the provisions that go into drafting the World’s Greatest Third Party SNT. This program will cover the choice between a stand-alone SNT versus testamentary SNT; designing the best SNT management team that may include professional trustee, Trust Advisory Committee, Trust Protector, and Care Advocate; discussing appropriate distribution provision standards; the importance of the Memorandum of Intent; ABLE funding provisions; accumulation trust language to hold retirement funds; and much, much more. Attendees will receive a guidebook in Word format that includes numerous provisions they can implement in their trusts immediately.

Lunch on Own

12:20 p.m. – 1:20 p.m.
Michele Fuller, Herb Thomas, Andrew de Vries, Lee Ann Hitchman, Mary Waltari

(Optional Fiduciary Topic) Part III – SNT Administration Fundamentals

1:20 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Overview of New Federal Rules on SNT; Part III is designed to discuss SNT disbursements, especially in light of the significant changes in federal policy on SNT administration that occurred in 2018. A thorough review of these changes will be discussed and dissected. Due to these changes in policy, the trustee’s responsibilities have been shifted on several big-ticket items. This program will review best practices when buying and selling a personal residence for the beneficiary. This program will end with a discussion on the SNT trustee’s duties on SNT termination.
Kevin Urbatsch & Ruth Phelps

(Optional Attorney Topic) Part III: Using Decanting and Modification Laws to Fix Bad SNTs

1:20 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Part III discusses ways attorneys can modify existing trusts that may not comply with the strict public benefit rules. There are a host of reasons this occurs, typically when there is a changed circumstance because the beneficiary became disabled after the drafting of the original trust or because the drafter was unaware of the rules required to make the trust a qualifying SNT. The panelists will discuss ways to modify these non-qualifying trusts under prior laws as well as the new decanting statute. The panelists will also discuss how the SSA may interpret these modified and decanted trusts and provide their expert predictions as to whether they will be accepted.

Break Visit with Exhibitors

3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Sponsored by:
Dr Temple Grandin

Keynote Speech: Working with Professionals Who Assist Persons with Disabilities

3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Dr. Temple Grandin is a prominent author and speaker on both autism and animal behavior. She is also autistic. Oliver Sacks wrote in the forward of Thinking in Pictures that her first book, Emergence: Labeled Autistic, was “unprecedented because there had never before been an inside narrative of autism.” Today she is a professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University. She also has a successful career consulting on both livestock handling equipment design and animal welfare. Today, half the cattle in the United States are handled in facilities she has designed. Articles about Dr. Grandin have appeared in Time Magazine, New York Times, Discover Magazine, Forbes and USA Today. HBO made an Emmy Award winning movie about her life and she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2016. She was recently named to the National Women’s Hall of Fame. She will speak with attendees about her experience as a person with autism who received significant supports from family and others which has empowered her to succeed in life.

Break Visit with Exhibitors

4:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Sponsored by:
Ann Koerner

California Dreaming: Finding and Evaluating Appropriate Housing Solutions for People with Disabilities

5:00 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.

Housing is oftentimes the number one concern of people with disabilities and their families. Attorneys face this issue when planning for a family that includes a loved one with special needs. Fiduciaries face this issue when serving as conservator, agent, or trustee and the person with a disability needs a place to live. In this presentation, Ann Koerner of National Care Advisors will review and evaluate all housing options for persons with disabilities in California. From skilled nursing facilities, to board and care homes, to psychiatric care facilities, and private arrangements, she will evaluate them all, analyzing what is currently available, what is not, where housing can be found, and where it cannot. It is not always pretty but, knowledge is the best weapon.

Welcome Cocktail Reception

6:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

sponsored by:
Day Two

Saturday, Feb. 8th, 2020

Full Breakfast

7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.
sponsored by:
Gregory Lederman, Carolina Fierro & Hon. Mary Thornton House

Lessons from the Front Lines: How Courts Evaluate Special Needs Trust Establishment and Administration

8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Special needs trusts are subject to a variety of oversight, they may need to meet federal guidelines set by the Social Security Administration and State guidelines set by the Department of Health Care Services or be reviewed by Public Housing Agencies and the Veteran’s Administration. Yet, all SNTs are subject to the rules of the Probate Code. Whenever legal questions arise, petitioning the Probate Judge to render a decision is the only sure method to resolve certain situations. Thus, it is imperative to understand how these courts evaluate SNTs. Because many SNTs are under ongoing court jurisdiction that require regular court account and reports, our speakers are in court nearly every day learning how judges interpret SNT provisions, evaluate SNT disbursements, when they want more information, rule against certain actions, approve other actions, and common areas of confusion about SNTs. Our speakers will cover all of these issues along with providing real world advice on how to properly prepare court accounts and 17200 petitions to obtain the desired result.

Break/ Visit Exhibitors

10:00 a.m. – 10:20 a.m.

Fay Blix & Meredith Taylor

Planning and Managing Health Care Decisions for Persons with Disabilities

10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Conservators or agents under an Advance Health Care Directive (AHCD) face complex and nuanced decisions regarding medical and psychiatric care for persons with disabilities. The probate code and the client’s estate planning documents may define the legal authority, but when decisions need to be made, it is not always easy to determine what the right decisions should be. Our panel will discuss the issues an attorney should consider when advising clients on the drafting or reviewing the AHCD, HIPAA release, POLST, and DNR. The panel will then discuss the role of the fiduciary when making medical and psychiatric care decisions for their clients.

Networking Lunch

12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Julie Menack, Will Lindahl & Susanne Cohen

Knowing When to Use Pooled Special Needs Trusts: A Creative Solution for Thorny Problems

1:30 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.

Pooled Special Needs Trusts have evolved into a wonderful tool for assisting persons with disabilities. Yet, all too often, professionals are unsure of what a Pooled SNT is, when it can be used, and how to select one. Our panel consists of an experienced attorney, private professional fiduciary, and Pooled SNT administrator who will explain the mechanics of the Pooled SNT, how the Pooled SNT fits into planning for persons with disabilities, how to properly evaluate different Pooled SNT programs, and how to work with Pooled SNTs concerning disbursements, investments, and management.

Break Visit with Sponsors

3:15 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.
sponsored by:
Herb Thomas, Michele Fuller, Steve Halterbeck, & Joe Anderson

Settlement Planning for Persons with Disabilities: Understanding Structured Settlement Annuities, Qualified Settlement Funds (QSFs), and Medicare Set Aside Arrangements (MSAs)

3:45 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.

There are a host of unique issues that arise when a person with a disability receives funds from a litigation recovery. Oftentimes, this money is held as part of a first party special needs trust to manage the funds and preserve SSI and Medi-Cal eligibility. Attorneys and fiduciaries are then asked to assist with preparation and management of the SNT funds. While many professionals have a working understanding of SNTs, they may need to know more about some other tools that are commonly used when settling a person with a disability’s lawsuit. This includes a structured settlement annuity, Qualified Settlement Fund (QSF), and a Medicare Set Aside Arrangement (MSA). These tools are commonly used alongside (or within) an SNT to protect the person with a disability. It is imperative that the professional understand how to work with these tools when planning and administering funds for a person with a disability.

Wine Cave Reception Delicious hors d’oeuvres with Napa wine, craft beer and creative non-alcoholic beverages

6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Sponsored by:

Day Three

Sunday Feb. 9th, 2020

Full Breakfast

7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.
Dennis Sandoval

Tax Time: Defining “Income” for Taxes and Public Benefits, Understanding the Differences is Critical for Proper SNT Planning and Administration

8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Income means different things to the IRS, to the SSA, to State Medicaid agencies, and in trust law. Understanding these differences will allow the planner to do proper SNT planning, advise on administration, and avoid penalties and fines. The most common understanding of income is from the IRS’ definition. Yet, different public benefit programs have definitions that include things many people do not normally think of as income, like gifts of food or shelter. Further muddying the waters, is understanding how income is taxed in an SNT. It is imperative that planners and fiduciaries understand how terms in the SNT or failure to take proper deductions may significantly alter the SNT’s marginal tax rate. Our speaker Dennis Sandoval is a national expert in special needs planning with an expertise in tax planning. He will provide a thorough overview of the term “income” and how the different definitions can be harmonized so the professional is confident in their planning and administration.

Break/ Visit Exhibitors

10:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Kevin Urbatsch, Kai Stinchcombe

New Developments and Creative Strategies in Using ABLE Accounts

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Our panel will use case studies to illustrate the many valuable uses of ABLE accounts. Clients want to know about them, and professionals need to understand them. Our panel of experts each has a unique perspective on the use of ABLE accounts. We will learn the latest developments and creative planning strategies that have been used to better serve persons with disabilities. Professionals will understand how to review and evaluate existing state programs to determine if it is the right plan for their client.
Scott MacDonald, Kevin Urbatsch, David Sherak, & Janie Mulrain

Moving to Mastery in Special Needs Planning and Administration

12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Twenty-five hundred years ago, the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu wisely stated, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Mastery of any subject begins the same way. It requires many small steps in the right direction. Join our panel as they discuss the steps (and missteps) taken to master this difficult but rewarding field of practice. Our panel will provide different perspectives on their journey, what resources are available, what resources they would like to see, ongoing successes, and case scenarios that still cause problems. Even experienced attendees will walk away with practical and usable advice, checklists, flow charts, and services to assist them in their journey.


Grand Prize Drawing and Thank You Esteemed Attendees,
sponsors, and Exhibitors

1:30 p.m. -2:00pm