The 2022 Special Needs Planning Symposium agenda will be announced soon.

You may explore (2021) agenda below, to familiarize yourself with the types of sessions available.

Sponsorships Available

Get your company or brand in front of leading fiduciaries and special needs attorneys during this intimate event, held at the luxury venue Meritage, Feb 22-24, 2022.

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Day One

Thursday, February 18, 2021
Kevin Urbatsch, Linda Durston

(Optional) Part I – Fundamentals of Financial and Medical Benefits for Persons with Disabilities

8:30am – 10:30am

Understanding the fundamentals of Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Childhood Disabled Beneficiary Benefits (CDB), Medi-Cal, Medicare, and private insurance is the critical first step for the professional to know how to properly plan for persons with disabilities and how to manage their personal and financial care during their lifetimes. This is the foundational program to all other programs. It is a must see for the beginner and an excellent refresher for the experienced professional.

Break/Coffee Chats

10:30am – 11:00am
James Huyck

(Optional Fiduciary Topic) Part II – Understanding and Using IHSS and Regional Center Services

11:00am – 12:30pm

Understanding and Using In Home Supportive Services (IHSS) and Regional Center Services

Lifetime caregiving costs for persons with disabilities can be astronomical. It is imperative that the planner knows how to stretch out all available resources for the person with a disability. In Home Supportive Services (IHSS) is the California program that provides caregiving services for those who qualify. Regional Center Services can provide lifetime care to the developmentally disabled. The professional should understand how these programs works and what steps should be taken to obtain as much out of these programs as needed. The program will provide an overview of the programs, their requirements, the services they provide and their limitations, and practical tips on how to advocate for these services.
Gene Osofsky

(Optional Attorney topic) Part II – Family Law and Special Needs Planning

11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

What Happens When There is a Spouse or Child with a Disability

Marriage, divorce, domestic partnerships, child support, and spousal support can have serious consequences for public benefits eligibility. Professionals who represent families that include persons with disabilities and trustees of a special needs trusts (SNT) must understand how these factors affect a beneficiary’s public benefits and long-term planning. While not every issue is essential to SNT planning, some directly influence planning, while others are only tangentially related, such as the requisite legal capacity to marry or divorce. Attorney Gene Osofsky will discuss this interesting intersection between family law and special needs planning.

Lunch Break

12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Moderator: Michele Fuller, w/ LeeAnn Hitchman, Chuck Collier, Andrew DeVries

(Optional Fiduciary Topic) Part III – SNT Administration Fundamentals

2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Our expert panel has listened to your requests and prepared a program to cover some of the most challenging purchases an SNT trustee must make. These include the following specific types of evaluations and disbursements.

· Making the disbursements for beneficiary’s food, shelter and transportation.

· Evaluating the need for beneficiary’s housing and transportation.

· Properly paying for and administering the beneficiary’s housing and transportation
Kevin Urbatsch, Jess Farinas & Mary Waltari

(Optional Attorney Topic) Part III – Fundamentals of Estate Planning for Families with Loved One with Special Needs

2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Planning for families that include a loved one with disabilities presents unique challenges. The planner must understand the beneficiary’s disability and the effect different planning tools affect public benefits. The planner must understand differences between the tools such as ABLE accounts, Third Party SNTs, and how to evaluate which will work in which situation. Moreover, the plan should include caring for the person’s personal care needs through powers of attorneys or conservatorship. Plus, the importance the Memorandum of Intent will play on lifetime planning. Our panel will cover the following topics:

· Client intake and available planning tools.

· Ensuring holistic planning

· The nuts and bolts of design meetings, review meetings, and signing meetings

ZOOM Breakouts

3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Sponsored by:
Michele Fuller, Jeremy Lau, Ted Ong, Herb Thomas

(Optional Fiduciary topic)Part IV – SNT Administration Fundamentals

4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

The SNT trustee should always be aware of the spending rates of trust assets and how to plan for the lifetime financial needs of the beneficiary. Our program will cover how to properly evaluate and plan for the lifetime financial needs of the beneficiary. As part of the SNT trustee’s job, two of the best tools to aid in administration are the ABLE account and the Truelink card. Understanding how and when to use both is essential knowledge for the SNT trustee. This program will cover:

· Evaluating and planning for the lifetime financial needs of a person with a disability.

· Knowing the practical aspects of using ABLE accounts during SNT administration.

· Understanding the practical aspects of using administrator prepaid cards like TrueLink during SNT administration.
Kevin Urbatsch, Dan Cutter, and Jess Farinas

(Optional Attorney topic)Part IV – Planning when Person with a Disability has or is Receiving Assets

4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

An important part of planning for persons with disabilities is how to plan when the person has or receives assets. This usually happens when the person receives a litigation settlement or judgment, an unplanned for inheritance, a gift, or has their own assets. Our panel will describe the effect assets have on public benefits, the available planning tools, how to evaluate the tools and particularly will discuss the following topics:

· Drafting the world’s greatest first party special needs trust.

· Financial planning with litigation settlements.

· Using other first party planning tools like pooled SNTs; gifting; ABLE accounts; personal care contracts; spend down strategies.


Virtual Welcome Cocktail Reception

6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

sponsored by:
Day Two

Friday, February 19, 2021
Kenneth Brown & Kevin Urbatsch

Recent Developments in Special Needs Planning and Administration

8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.

Special needs planning, public benefits, and SNT administration are areas of the law that are in constant flux. Kenneth Brown is the former Team Leader for the Social Security Administration. He wrote many of the rules that govern Special Needs Trust establishment and administration to this day. Mr. Brown will review the most recent changes to the POMS concerning special needs planning and cover the essential SSA’s Regional Counsel Precedent opinions that govern how the SSA evaluates SNT establishment and administration. Kevin Urbatsch will bask in Mr. Brown’s presence and provide the most recent updates to any California specific laws, regulations and policies

Break/Coffee Chats

10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Denise A Lettau, Michele Fuller, Will Lindahl, Mary Tovella Dowling & Jessica Dorsett

Implementing an Underused Tool in Special Needs Planning, the Pooled SNT: When to Use Them, How to Evaluate Them and How to Use Them

10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Pooled Special Needs Trusts are a unique solution for planning for a person with a disability. There is a federal law that authorizes this type of special needs trust that requires that a nonprofit run it, that a separate set-aside account be set up for each beneficiary with a qualifying disability, and (for first party money) must include a payback and distributions for a beneficiary’s sole benefit. However, the nonprofit may retain funds for its charitable purpose prior to the payback obligation. There are a host of Pooled SNT programs around California and the country. How is someone supposed to know which are the excellent programs and which may be dangerous to join? What criteria should a Pooled SNT program be judged? Our panel consists of two national Pooled SNT program administrators, a CPA audit firm that evaluates non-profits, and a nonprofit attorney to help us learn how to properly evaluate

Lunch Break

12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Hon. Mary House, Kevin Urbatsch, and Greg Lederman

Preventing and Curing Difficult Issues During a Special Needs Trust Account and Report

1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Participants will observe several mock hearings between the Honorable Mary House (retired Los Angeles Probate Judge) and attorneys Greg Lederman and Kevin Urbatsch (who both probably wish they were retired). The hearings will cover several SNT accounts and reports in which Judge House questions certain expenditures that were made, the advisability of SNT’s investments, caregivers that were hired, purchase of a primary residence, purchase of a vehicle, the use of ABLE Accounts and True Link cards, and question the fees of both the SNT trustee and their attorney. The attorneys must justify everything using the terms of the SNT document, the POMS, the Probate Code, and their incredible tap-dancing skills. Materials will include sample Petitions for Account and Report; Summary of the legal issues addressed, and additional materials to help the practitioner have as smooth an SNT account and report experience as possible.
Melanie Emmons and Jessica Marmolejo

Obtaining Legal Authority to Make Personal Care Decisions for the Developmentally Disabled Person Who Lacks Capacity

3:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Persons with disabilities who do not have capacity will oftentimes require a Conservatorship in order to have someone with legal authority to make decisions on their behalf. In California, persons with developmental disabilities (like autism, cerebral palsy, etc.) have a special type of Conservatorship called a Limited Conservatorship. Because persons with developmental disabilities may have capacity in one area and not another, the Limited Conservatorship provides a menu of powers such as (contract, medical decisions, residence, marriage, social sexual contacts, and education) and allows the petitioner to select which ones are necessary. There are a host of procedures, documents, and practical advice needed when establishing and administering a Limited Conservatorship. Our experienced presenters will provide a summary of how to establish one, how to maintain one, and the limits of what this type of Conservatorship offers the person with a disability and their family.

Break/Coffee Chats

4:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Ann Koerner

Are They Prepared? Crisis Planning for Special Needs Families and the Role of the SNT Trustee, Fiduciary, Financial Planner, and Special Needs Attorney

4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

The lessons from Covid are fresh in our minds concerning emergency planning for special needs families. What is the reasonable responsibility of a fiduciary, SNT Trustee, special needs attorney and financial planner when facing these types of challenges for their clients and to ensure that this conversation is documented? It includes the following – some obvious, some not so obvious, some related to Covid, and some not:
• Basic home preparation – food staples, disposable supplies, essential medications, drinkable water
• Energy sources – batteries, generators, charge packs, etc.
• Caregiver alternatives – when they don’t show up
• Communication alternatives and alternative applications – for all education and socio-economic groups. What if the crisis happens on the weekend, or they can’t reach their trustee or financial planner because the office/official lines are not staffed?
• Power of attorney designations
• Emergency funds and authorizations from trusts
• Loss of parental salary that is essential for maintaining the client’s home, transportation, etc.
• Proactive planning – “what if”……..
• Where do you go if you can’t stay home? (earthquake, fire, etc.)
• What happens if you can’t leave home? (pandemic, blocked roads, etc.)
• Who talks to the client if the current expenditure plan is no longer sustainable because of changes in the financial markets due to crisis?
• Who makes sure that the client is aware AND HAS ACTUALLY FOLLOWED THROUGH – on accessing additional government resources?

Virtual Networking Reception

6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Sponsored by:

Day Three

Saturday, February 20, 2021
Frank Acuña and Tracy Regli

Special Needs Planning with Retirement Assets
How the SECURE Act has Fundamentally Changed Planning for Persons with Disabilities

8:30 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.

The SECURE Act contains several provisions that significantly change the planning and administration of estates and trusts. Many of the new rules will have a significant and oftentimes negative impact on estate plans in general. For example, the SECURE Act raised the age for required minimum distributions from age 70 ½ to age 72. It also eliminates the "stretch" distributions from inherited IRAs with limited exceptions. Under the new law, beneficiaries must withdraw assets from an inherited account within 10 years of the owner’s death, requiring careful planning to minimize tax liability. But SECURE also includes positive changes for special needs planners, our speakers Frank Acuña and Tracy Regli will update us on how special needs planners and administrators are uniquely qualified to take advantage of new planning opportunities for persons with disabilities. Our speakers will provide effective special needs estate and tax planning techniques in light of the new rules.
The speakers will review these and other essential items:
1. What should special needs planners know about the SECURE Act?
2. What are the unresolved issues of the SECURE Act for persons with disabilities?
3. What are the estate and special needs trust planning techniques available in light of the SECURE Act?

Break/Coffee Chats

10:15 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.
Dennis Sandoval

Taxation of Third-Party Special Needs Trusts and of Beneficiaries

10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Dennis Sandoval will outline the income taxation of third-party special needs trusts, including income taxes paid by the trust itself and taxes paid by the beneficiary. He will provide an overview of what is included in income, what deductions are allowed at the trust level and the beneficiary level, what is DNI and how it affects the taxation of the beneficiary and how to structure the trust and the trust assets to minimize overall taxes paid by the trust. While the presentation will cover the taxation of all non-grantor trusts, there will be a special emphasis of the taxation of third-party special needs trusts and their beneficiaries.
Michele Fuller, Kevin Urbatsch, Scott MacDonald, and Herb Thomas

Moving to Mastery in Special Needs Planning and Administration

12:15 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. -2:00 pm