2018 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 Vineyard Creek, Feb 15-17th, 2018.

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Day One

Thursday, Feb. 15th, 2018


Noon – 1:00pm
Ann Koerner, Deborah Ballins Schwarcz, Joel Almquist, Roxanne Gunther

Proactive and Next Generation Planning for Families that Include a Loved One with Disabilities

1:00pm – 3:00pm

Persons with disabilities come from every background, from wealthy to poor. The professional often has to plan for an entire family through the generations. In creating a proper strategy, it is important to begin the design by assisting the family define their vision of what they would like to accomplish for all family members. It will nearly always require a plan on how their loved one with special needs care needs will be paid for and who in the next generation will provide the care. It is the rare situation when one professional can solve all the issues that arise in this common planning situation. Collaboration is key. Our expert panel consists of a variety of professional who assist in the planning needs of persons with disabilities. The panel will discuss collaborative approaches to planning, common issues that arise, and creative solutions to solving the planning needs of families that include a loved one with special needs.

Break – Visit Exhibitors

3:00pm – 3:30pm
sponsored by:
Kevin Urbatsch

Evaluating and Correcting Defective Special Needs Trusts

3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

The primary planning tool for professionals is the special needs trust. This program will identify key points in evaluating an existing SNT. Often the analysis stops if the SNT meets the basic legal requirements. While most SNTs meet bare requirements of the law, too many are drafted which unintentionally make administration difficult, if not impossible. This program will teach the professional what to look for when evaluating an SNT for legal and statutory compliance and from a practical administrative perspective. In addition, participants will gain perspective on when and what steps to take when correcting a defective document.
Andrew de Vries, Daniel Cutter, Susanne Cohen, Julie Menack

(Ethics Credit) Professional Ethics for Attorneys and Fiduciaries

3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Professionals who assist persons with disabilities constantly run into ethical dilemmas. Our panel of experts from a variety of professions will examine some of the most common situations and ethical dilemmas that arise when planning for persons with disabilities, how to identify them when they arise, how to properly address them, and tips on preventing liability issues for fiduciaries and attorneys.

Complimentary Wine Tasting by Hyatt Vineyard Creek Hotel

5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Day Two

Friday, Feb. 16th, 2018

Hot Breakfast

7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.
Jim Huyck, Terry M. Magady

Understanding and Advocating for In Home Supportive Services (IHSS)

8:30 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.

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. The professional should understand how this program works and what steps should be taken to obtain as much out of this program as is needed. The program will provide an overview of the IHSS program, its requirements, the services it provides and its limitations, and practical tips on how to advocate for these services.

Drafting Tips for Third Party Special Needs Trusts

8:30 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.

The third party special needs trust remains the most effective tool for the special needs planning professional. Often, drafters overly focus on eligibility and preservation of public benefits as the sole purpose of an SNT. In fact, this is just the start of the planning process. Nearly every parent of a loved one with special needs greatest concerns are where their child will live, who will provide the caregiving, who will advocate for their child, who will ensure their child’s well-being, who will prepare the trust budget, and a host of things that have nothing to do with public benefits. This program will provide a deeper understanding of how the SNT, together with a Memorandum of Intent, can provide the protection that families want when they come to a professional to plan for their loved one.

Break/ Visit Exhibitors

10:15 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.
Melanie Marmion

Issues that Arise When Person with Disabilities Inherit Retirement Assets

10:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Leaving retirement plans to persons with disabilities is a challenge. This program covers the basics on naming a Designated Beneficiary for the retirement plan, the tax consequences when retirement assets are not planned for, safe harbor conduit trust provisions and why they do not work for persons with disabilities. Plus, this program covers the specifics of leaving retirement assets to a person with special needs such as setting up the Third Party SNT Accumulation Trust, setting up a springing Accumulation Trust, setting up a (d)(4)(A) SNT when no proper planning was done, properly completing the Beneficiary Designation form, and the practical realities of finding a Plan Administrator who will implement the plan.

Networking Lunch

12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Will Lindahl

Using Technology to Streamline, Protect, and Enhance Your Special Needs Practice

2:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.

Running any type of professional practice can be daunting. Running a special needs practice is fraught with additional pitfalls and dangers. It is imperative that the professional have their systems in place. Professionals need a consistent and reliable system of procedures to safeguard client’s money, efficiently and correctly respond to disbursement requests, respond to inquiries, and implement checks and balances to ensure employees are meeting these goals. Will Lindahl has implemented the latest in technology to make sure his national Pooled SNT platform serving over 4,000 beneficiaries, with thousands of financial transactions a day all around the country, runs smoothly. Will candidly examines his learning process over the years and provides insights so that you can learn from his trial and error on making the most of technology for his special needs practice. He will provide an overview of the technological tools and tips he has used to become a model of efficiency and consistency, providing excellent client service while motivating and developing his team of staff. Participants can all take away some pearls of wisdom that they can immediately implement to increase efficiency in their special needs practices.
Kevin Urbatsch & Michele Fuller

ABLE Accounts: Understanding Them, Evaluating Them, and Using Them

3:15 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.

Professionals should be aware of ABLE, a new planning tool for persons with disabilities. Using an ABLE account, alongside a special needs trust, is state-of-the-art planning. ABLE stands for Achieving a Better Life Experience and is a new type of account designed exclusively for people with disabilities. The assets in an ABLE account can grow income-tax free and will not interfere with that person’s essential public benefits. It is structured under similar rules as a 529 Plan education account and the rules are found at IRC §529A. Some of the benefits of the ABLE account for a person with a disability is that they can manage their own money, they can save for big ticket items to make their lives better, and it is tax favored. Persons with disabilities and the charities that support them are aware of the benefits of this wonderful tool. However, many of them are not aware of some of its limitations including funding limitations, eligibility restrictions, payback requirements, and limited distributions. It is up to the planners to let their clients know about this plan and how it can help people with disabilities.

Break/ Visit Exhibitors

4:15 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.
Moderator: Michele Fuller – Panel: Ann Koerner, James Huyck, Scott MacDonald, Ruth Phelps

Thinking Outside the Docs: Case Studies Leveraging Public and Private Resources to Support Independence for Persons with Disabilities

4:45 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.

The panel will cover some real-life case studies and the creative solutions that allowed a person with a disability to live their life independently. The panel will show how using Medi-Cal waiver programs, leveraging HUD programs, and community resources (such as GoFundMe) resources allow a person with a disability to have resources to live their life to the fullest. The panel includes the parents of a child with special needs who started a school to cover the transition from education to adulthood for persons with disabilities.

Symposium Reception – Hors d’oeuvres with Sonoma Wine, Craft Beer and Creative Non-Alcoholic Beverages

6:45 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

All Registered Attendees, Sponsors, & Exhibitors Welcome

sponsored by:
Day Three

Sat. Feb. 17th, 2018

Hot Breakfast

7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.
Thomas Brinker

Identifying Tax Benefits for Families Caring for Children with Special Needs

8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

As the number of children diagnosed with autism, Asperger’s syndrome, and other neurological disorders continues to skyrocket (1 in 68 as of March 2014 and 2016), professionals need to understand the deductions and credits available in assisting families in planning for their unique situation. Our session addresses those items that are deductible from adjusted gross income (AGI) to determine taxable income.

In addition to reviewing the general framework in individual tax planning for our families and the definition of a deductible medical expense, our session will focus on some financing nuances associated with this deduction (i.e., retirement planning distributions and home equity loans), the tax benefit rule, and the interaction of the medical expense and home equity deductions, as well as other financing techniques, with the Alternative Minimum Tax. If time permits, an income tax case study will illustrate the impact of these various provisions.

Courtney Kosnik

Top Tips in Preparing Special Needs Trust Fiduciary Tax Returns

9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.

Everyone knows that preparing SNT fiduciary tax returns is exciting and interesting work. Yet, some people insist it is complicated. Enrolled Agent Courtney Kosnik has prepared hundreds of SNT tax returns. She will review her top tips in preparing SNT tax returns. She will review most common errors and ways to make sure that your tax preparer is doing it right, the basic items that must be covered, and how professionals can make it easier for your tax professional.

Break/ Visit Exhibitors

10:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Michele Fuller, Mark Metzger

Developing Systems in Your Special Needs Professional Practice

11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Running a professional special needs practice is the most difficult and rewarding job on the planet. Being successful means that the professional makes a profound impact on the lifetime care of persons with disabilities. Yet, the professional must have systems and procedures in place to cover the large influx of cases that will come through their door after attending the Symposium. When that happens, how do you incorporate all the things you learned? How do you maintain a proper work/life balance? How do you make sure you are being the professional you want to be? This program will provide you the answers and solutions that will make your professional life more productive and satisfying.

Moderator: Kevin Urbatsch; Panel: Speakers

Ask the Experts (aka “Stump the Chump”)

12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Throughout the Symposium, notecards will be distributed to attendees to write down the questions they would like answered. Maybe it sounds too basic, maybe the question is too long for a general session, maybe it is something that has not been covered. No question is too basic and no question is too complicated. This session will let you obtain the answer from the experts to the special needs question you must know.
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