2019 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 Santa Rosa, CA at the beautiful Hyatt Regency Sonoma Wine Country, Feb 7-9, 2019.

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Day One

Thursday, Feb. 7th, 2019


7:30am – 1:00pm
Kevin Urbatsch & James Huyck

(Optional) Basics of Public Benefits for Persons with Disabilities

8:00am – 10:00am
Understanding public benefits is at the heart of knowing how to properly plan for persons with disabilities and to administer special needs trusts. The professional must have a working knowledge of the different programs aiding persons with disabilities including, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Childhood Disabled Beneficiary (CDB), Medi-Cal, Medicare, Regional Center and In Home Supportive Services (IHSS). This program will provide an overview of these programs’ disability and financial requirements. The professional will come away with a solid overview of these vitally important programs.
Edward Donohue & Cassidy Chivers

(Optional) Ethics of Cyber Security and Diminished Capacity

8:00am – 10:00am

Technology presents challenges for professionals. The rules require that professionals take competent and reasonable measures to safeguard client data. This duty extends to computers, mobile devices, networks, technology outsourcing, and cloud computing. The speakers will discuss the legal duties in this area and also discuss another common ethical dilemma, when the professional should seek an assessment of their client’s capacity. The standards in the law are inconsistent. The test for capacity is generally tied to an inability to manage one’s financial affairs. This is a gray area and one that continues to lead to litigation.

Break – Visit Exhibitors

10:00am – 10:30am
sponsored by:
Michele Fuller

(Optional) Hire Slow, Fire Fast: Hiring a Super Star Support Team

10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Whether hiring your first employee, struggling with your existing team, or in the process of building your dream team, this two-hour intensive workshop will fundamentally alter when, how, and who you hire. Michele discusses routine hiring mistakes professionals make and are likely still making. Most importantly, she will introduce key concepts and tools to help you build a super star team that you can implement right away. This program will challenge the way you think about your business and provide solutions to make it better.
Kevin Urbatsch & Herb Thomas

(Optional) Basics of Special Needs Trust Administration

10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Correctly administering a SNT is an important task, if the administration is done incorrectly, the trustee may cause the person with a disability to lose his or her eligibility for public benefits. This results in substantial loss of assets and loss of access to health care. While it is important and satisfying to administer a SNT, it is difficult. The trust rules and public benefits regulations are highly technical, often unclear and can be contradictory. Even small differences in a beneficiary’s factual situation can significantly affect the trustee’s duties. This program will provide a summary of the most common trustee errors and how to prevent them.

Lunch on Own

12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Ann Koerner, Michele Fuller & Kevin Urbatsch

Managing Unrealistic Expectations When Planning for Persons with Disabilities and Administering SNTs

1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
The professional will inevitably have to deal with unrealistic expectations when planning for persons with disabilities and administering special needs trusts. These can arise when a beneficiary or their family believes the trustee should buy the expensive home or automobile. Perhaps it is the court disputing the trustee paying for family caregivers even if they have given up everything to care for the loved one with special needs. The unrealistic expectations can also arise from the beneficiary’s legal guardians, other professionals, public agencies, or court personnel. This program will discuss how to avoid these situations by not being the one creating the expectations and making sure the data supports what probabilities are most realistic. The program will also discuss solutions for defusing these situations by being transparent and thorough in reporting to all parties. It is imperative the professional understand what the most likely outcomes are and resolving these situations.

Break Visit with Exhibitors

3:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Sponsored by:
Andrew de Vries, Barbara de Vries and Kevin Urbatsch

Best Practices When Buying and Selling a Home for a Special Needs Trust Beneficiary

3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Finding decent affordable housing can be especially challenging for persons with disabilities. Few things provide a more direct benefit to a person with a disability than a home whether it is a living environment that is adapted to his or her disabilities or is just a safe and clean place to live. Our panel will discuss the best practices when buying and selling real estate in a special needs trust. Is court involvement necessary or recommended? What is the effect on the beneficiary’s public benefits? What practical issues arise when a beneficiary resides in a home and others want to live there? What about joint ownership with a parent? These questions and many others will be discussed by our panel that includes a real estate broker, professional fiduciary, and an attorney experienced in these issues.
Meredith Taylor

SNT Administration for the Mentally Ill Beneficiary

4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Administering an SNT when a beneficiary has a mental illness is one of the most challenging tasks a professional will undertake. The beneficiary may not cooperate, can be verbally abusive, or even be a danger to themselves or others. Managing a SNT with this beneficiary requires special training, additional skills, a thick skin, and a great deal of patience. This program will review your intake process in agreeing to take on a case, creating a team to serve the client’s needs, and summarize other important aspects of administration including finding housing, obtaining public benefits, serving as payee, and providing advocacy. This program is designed so the professional can learn the tools to serve this population by using their professional skills and resources.

Welcome Reception

5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

sponsored by:

Day Two

Friday, Feb. 8th, 2019

Full Breakfast

7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.
Tracy Regli, Frank Acuña, & Herb Thomas

Defending the Special Needs Trust Trustee if
Accused of Wrongdoing

8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.
SNT trustees are subject to many rules and regulations. It would be a rare trustee who is not accused of wrongdoing at some point in his or her career, sometimes learning that actions taken in good faith may have violated trust terms or public benefit laws. However, there are tools trustees can use to protect themselves and it is a rare breach of trust that cannot be corrected. This session will examine various breach of trust claims, methods of correcting them to avoid negative outcomes, and trust laws which provide a trustee the right to seek forgiveness for incorrect actions. Attorneys and fiduciaries will discuss providing proactive accountings and reports, sending out notices to beneficiaries, seeking court intervention, and aggressively defending good faith actions, among other tools.

Break/ Visit Exhibitors

10:00 a.m. – 10:20 a.m.

Scott Macdonald & Daniel Cutter

Special Needs Trust Depletion Analysis
How Long will the Money Last?

10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Many special needs trusts are set up to last for a beneficiary’s lifetime. Others, to last as long as possible. During court accountings, many courts are asking the trustee and their attorney to provide an analysis on how long the money in trust will last given historical spending. Families oftentimes ask the attorney how much should be funded into an SNT to provide for the lifetime care of their loved one with special needs. This program will provide the needed tools to prepare a depletion analysis of a special needs trust. The factors that must be considered including calculating the lifetime income from public benefits, determining amounts of annual disbursements, taking into account inflation, and considering investment risk from different allocations of investments.

Networking Lunch

12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Kevin Urbatsch

Demystifying the SNT Trust Protector and Advisory Committee

1:30 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
Juvenal, an ancient Roman satiric poet opined “Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” Or, as roughly translated, “who guards the guardians themselves?” Alan Moore updated this quote in his graphic novel titled Watchman when he asked “Who Watches the Watchmen?” In trust law, traditionally, the Watchman of a trustee is the trust’s beneficiary. But what happens if the beneficiary is unable to perform because of a lack of capacity or disability. A SNT trustee has total discretion over funds held inside the trust. Also, due to a SNT’s complexity, professional trustees are traditionally recommended to serve. This concerns many families and persons with disabilities because a stranger is provided so much authority over the life of the beneficiary with special needs. Trust Protectors and Advisory Committees arose to provide a check and balance on trustee’s absolute power. This program will describe the use of Trust Protectors and Advisory Committees in SNT planning and administration and how they originated and have evolved.
Moderator: Kevin Urbatsch & Presented by: Michele Fuller, Joyce Anthony and Lisa Soloway

SNT Trust Protectors and Advisory Committees: Necessary Protection or Needless Hassle?

2:15 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
The rise of Trust Protectors and Advisory Committees in SNT administration has created several issues, such as increases in cost of trust administration, uninformed Trust Protectors making poor decisions, and Trust Protectors having too much authority. Some professional fiduciaries have embraced the use of trusts that include a Trust Protector and others refuse to serve. Some attorneys and fiduciaries agree to serve in the role of Trust Protector while others refuse to do so. Our panel will discuss the pros and cons of serving as trustee in a trust with a Trust Protector or serving as a Trust Protector. The panel will discuss best practices and options that may improve how the two roles can peacefully coexist and what steps can be taken to mitigate issues when the relationship is irretrievably broken.

Break Visit with Sponsors

3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
sponsored by:
Susanne Cohen & Julie Menack

Fiduciary and Attorney Teamwork in Stopping Financial Abuse and Recovering Assets of Persons with Disabilities

4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Abuse and exploitation are constant dangers for people with disabilities. People with disabilities are more susceptible to abuse for many reasons, including:
• Predators may perceive a person with disabilities as weak, vulnerable or less likely to report abuse, making them easy targets.
• People with disabilities are often isolated and dependent on a small circle of friends or caregivers for critical support, including assistance with basic physical needs. These same caregivers are often the abusers, which poses a difficult decision for the victim who is required to choose between the potential for continuing abuse and an uncertain future.
• Many live in segregated environments, such as group homes, where abuse can occur – and be hidden – more easily. In addition, victims who are abused in group settings may have limited access to police, advocates, medical or social services representatives, or others who can intervene and help.
This program will provide a discussion on how a professional fiduciary and attorney can team up to remedy dependent adult financial abuse, safeguard assets, recover assets, obtain damages and collect fiduciary and attorney fees. The program will provide clues to know if abuse has occurred and what to do if it has. The presenters will provide real life case studies in financial abuse outlining a sample case.

Symposium Reception
Delicious hors d’oeuvres with Sonoma wine, craft beer and creative non-alcoholic beverages

5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Sponsored by:

Day Three

Sat. Feb. 9th, 2019

Full Breakfast

7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.
Courtney Kosnik

Basics of Special Needs Trust Taxation and Recent Developments in Tax for Persons with Disabilities

8:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
The first hour of this program will provide a solid overview of the taxation for special needs trusts and the second hour will cover the recent developments that have arisen in the tax code that covers persons with disabilities. A common question that arises about first and third party special needs trusts is how they are taxed. There are really two different tax systems in place for these trusts, one is generally called grantor trust tax treatment and the other non-grantor trust tax treatment. This seminar will describe the differences in tax treatment of trusts and describe how first and third party SNTs are generally taxed. The tax code has changed quite a bit in the past few years. The second hour of the program is devoted to explaining how these changes affect special needs planning and administration.

Break/ Visit Exhibitors

10:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Michele Fuller, Kevin Urbatsch, Herb Thomas, Ann Koerner, Jessica Farinas

Finding the Right Plan
Case Studies of Common Special Needs Planning and Administration Scenarios

11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
The final program may be the most important program because it is a tutorial of the common scenarios that professionals face when planning for persons with disabilities or administering special needs trusts. The speakers will discuss intake procedures to obtain accurate information, common planning and administration issues and their solutions, and discuss ways to set up procedures to provide the best service possible to your clients. The speakers will present scenarios and real word experience in the best way to manage the most common situations. Topics will include third party planning using ABLE accounts and third party SNTs, first party SNT planning, setting up for SNT administration, issues that arise during administration, and terminating the SNT.


Grand Prize Drawing and Exhibitor Prizes. Thanks to our Esteemed Attendees!

12:30 p.m. -1:00pm

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