2023 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 at the luxury venue Meritage Resort & Spa, Feb 22-24, 2024

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Day One

Thursday, Feb. 9th, 2023

Registration and Continental Breakfast

7:30am – 8:30am

Welcome Sponsor: Fiduciary Real Estate Services
Breakfast Sponsor: Bishop Fiduciary Services Ltd.


Fiduciary Pre-Session

Sponsored by PFAC

This program is designed for the SNT fiduciary to learn the fundamentals of special needs trust administration and is divided into four parts. If the attendee feels confident in one area, then they can select which parts they wish to attend. If they select all three, the fourth is complimentary.

Attorney Pre-Session

Sponsored by Kairos Fiduciary

This program is designed for the attorney to learn different aspects of special needs planning. It is divided into four parts. If the attendee feels confident in one area, then he or she can select which parts they wish to attend. If they select all three, then the fourth is complimentary.
Michele Fuller and Ellen Cookman

Part I – Fundamentals of Public 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, and Medicare 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 Visit with Exhibitors

10:30am – 11:00am

Sponsored by:
Hahn & Hahn LLP
James Huyck

(Fiduciary Topic) Understanding Regional Center and In Home Supportive Services (IHSS) Benefits

11:00am – 12:30pm

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 work 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.
Cynthia Cox

(Attorney Topic) Drafting Workshop for Effective Third-Party Special Needs Trust Provisions

11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

This program provides the drafting attorney with excellent fundamental coverage of the provisions that are included in third-party special needs trust drafting. Yet, these provisions while excellent, do not cover some of the intermediate or advanced drafting challenges with which drafters will be confronted. The attendees and the presenter will use their collective brain power to discuss different solutions and methods for addressing challenging planning scenarios. This will be highly interactive so come ready to contribute.

Networking Lunch

12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Sponsored by: Bishop Fiduciary Services Ltd.
Michele Fuller, Meredith Taylor and Lisa Soloway

(Fiduciary Topic) Creating Clear and Consistent Procedures for Making Proper SNT Distributions

2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

The SNT administration process can be filled with friction for both the trustee and beneficiary. Clear procedures and well-communicated expectations help the trustee’s team and the beneficiary have a smooth and consistent experience. This session dives deep into the trustee’s disbursement processes, including best practices in making SNT disbursements, educating the beneficiary and their family regarding the trustee and the beneficiary’s responsibilities, trustee’s decision-making, and proper SNT disbursements. This session includes written outlines, checklists, and a decision-tree flowchart to serve as tools they can immediately implement into their busy practices.
Kevin Urbatsch and Josh Brothers

(Attorney Topic) Reviewing All of the Special Needs Planning Tools Available for Persons with Disabilities

2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Special needs planners know that when a client with special needs comes to the office, there are a host of issues that need to be addressed. Issues concerning capacity, asset management, disability, public benefits, housing, caregiving, and transportation nearly always arise. The prepared planner will know the best solution for each issue. This session provides a thorough overview of the different special needs planning tools and when they are best used. This includes an overview of Third Party Special Needs Trusts, ABLE Accounts, Memorandums of Intent, True Link cards, Conservatorship/Guardianship, Powers of Attorney, Advance Health Care Directives, First Party (d)(4)(A) SNTs, Pooled SNTs, Medicare Set Aside Arrangements, Qualified Settlement Funds, Spenddown, Personal Care Contracts, and much more.

Break Visit with Exhibitors

3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Sponsored by:
Blende Dental Group I Home of The House Call Dentists
Jessica Jones, Lisa Hansen and Jessica Marmolejo

(Fiduciary Topic) Complying with the SNT Trustee’s Reporting, Record Keeping, and Accounting Duties

4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

The SNT trustee’s duties for reporting, recordkeeping, and accounting are often overlooked in a busy fiduciary practice. Yet, the failure to meet these responsibilities can be dire for the trustee, especially when audited by a beneficiary, their family, successor trustees, the court, or government agencies. Our panel has handled hundreds of special needs trust administration and describes the SNT trustee’s responsibility to report to government agencies, report to beneficiaries, account to the court, account to the beneficiaries, and maintain records. The panel will discuss best practices, provide outlines and checklists, and provide solutions on how to meet the trustee’s responsibilities.
Josh Brothers and Ann Koerner

(Attorney Topic) Case Studies: Planning Strategies for Different Scenarios When Family Has Loved One with Special Needs

4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Planners may know the basic tools for special needs planning, but there may be different solutions and different uses for those tools in different planning scenarios. Our speakers will review several scenarios and provide a summary of planning solutions. The speakers will focus on traditional estate planning cases but provide different planning wrinkles such as a loved one with special needs who is young and outcomes are unknown, an adult with disabilities who has profound needs but no family members to assist loved one, and a loved one with mental illness who needs assistance now. The challenges are many in these cases because the situations are ever-evolving and finding the right person or persons to assist now and in the future is at the heart of what special needs planners do. Being prepared to handle these situations will make the planner an essential person.

Welcome Cocktail Reception

6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

sponsored by:
Day Two

Friday, Feb. 10th, 2023

Full Breakfast

7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m.

sponsored by:
Bishop Fiduciary Services Ltd.
Rebecca Williford, Shannon Cogan and William Leiner

Disability Advocacy and Current Issues

8:00 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.

Persons with disabilities commonly need the services of professional advocates throughout their life. This occurs for several reasons, including losing access to housing, improper education, public benefits, or other civil rights violations. There are a host of agencies dedicated to advocating for persons with disabilities. This session includes some of the top advocacy organizations in California that will describe the services their agency provides, the types of violations they advocate against, and the top issues to understand when representing persons with disabilities.

Break Visit with Exhibitors

9:45 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.

Sponsored by:
21st Century Care Solutions

Michael Amoruso

Properly Drafting a SECURE Special Needs Trust to Hold Retirement Assets

10:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

The suddenness of the SECURE Act’s implementation took many planners by surprise, especially with its profound changes on how inherited retirement plans must be spent down after death. This fundamentally altered how estate planners plan for retirement accounts. However, the SECURE Act also provided a boon for persons with disabilities. It expressly allows a special needs trust to own an inherited retirement plan to allow tax-efficient growth over the person with a disability’s lifetime. To do so, the planner must follow certain specific drafting and properly complete beneficiary designations. This program reviews the fundamentals of SECURE but focuses on ensuring the retirement plan is properly left to a person with a disability.

Networking Lunch

12:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.

Sponsored by:
Bishop Fiduciary Services Ltd.
Jeremy Lau and Kerrie Lloyd

Financial Planning for Families with a Loved One with Special Needs

1:15 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Financial planning can be complex, but when a family has a loved one with special needs it can be even more complicated. The special needs financial planner requires additional skills, knowledge, and empathy to advise families that include a loved one with special needs. This session covers the planning strategies for parents when planning for the lifetime needs of their loved one with special needs and addresses two key questions: 1) How much money will be needed for that loved one’s lifetime and 2) once that is resolved, what can be done to protect that money from the parents’ expenses during the remainder of their lives?
Donovan Filpi and Bartschi

Financial Planning for Persons with Special Needs

2:00 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.

Financial planning for persons with disabilities can be complex. The traditional financial planner typically works with individuals who are gainfully employed and do not need to qualify for public benefits. This session covers financial planning for a person with disabilities. The assets for a person with a disability are often managed in a special needs trust or conservatorship of the estate. This program discusses the additional planning needed to comply with the requirements of the Prudent Investment Act and to determine how long the money will last.

Break Visit with Exhibitors

2:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

sponsored by:
Medivest Benefit Advisors, Inc.
Hon. Judge Mary Thornton House (Ret.), Greg Lederman and Kevin Urbatsch

Probate Court Hearing:
Line 1 – Petition to Modify Disqualifying SNT
Line 2 – Order to Show Cause Concerning SNT Trustee Surcharge

3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Oftentimes, the best way to learn is to watch it live. Join our two intrepid attorneys as they argue two petitions before an experienced California Probate Judge. The first petition will cover the modification of a disqualifying trust into a qualifying special needs trust. What issues need to be addressed? What facts need to be alleged? What is the law and how will the judge interpret it? The next petition is an Order to Show Cause why an SNT Trustee should not be surcharged. What did the SNT do? Can the attorney protect the SNT Trustee? Does the SNT Trustee deserve to be surcharged? What will the judge do in this case?

Break Visit with Exhibitors

4:30 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

sponsored by:
Frank Acuña and Tracy Regli

The Attorney Representing the Professional Fiduciary as SNT Trustee: Is this Complicated?

4:45 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Fiduciary duties are among the highest duties in law. Where the interests of vulnerable individuals are at stake, fiduciaries should be mindful of a sacred responsibility of care and competence. However, experts across the country debate the scope of fiduciary duties, who owes such duties, and to whom duties are owed. This session will discuss the attorney and SNT trustee’s fiduciary duty toward the SNT beneficiary, between each other, and other third parties. Our speaker will discuss the troubling issues that can arise, and how to anticipate and avoid these sticky and problematic situations.
Party Time

Wine Cave Reception

6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Strolling Dinner in Wine Cave and Poolside Patio
Delicious hors d’oeuvres with Napa wine, craft beer and creative non-alcoholic beverages

Sponsored by:

Day Three

Saturday Feb. 11th, 2023

Full Breakfast

7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m.

Sponsored by:
Bishop Fiduciary Services Ltd.
Thomas Brinker

Identifying Tax Benefits for Persons with Special Needs

8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

As the number of children diagnosed with autism, Asperger’s syndrome, and other neurological disorders continues to skyrocket, 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.

Break Visit with Exhibitors

9:30 a.m. – 9:50 a.m.

Sponsored by:
Family Network on Disabilities
Michael Walther and Peter Wall

ABLE Accounts: Understanding, Evaluating, and Using Them

9:50 a.m. – 11:05 p.m.

ABLE accounts are eight years old and have become a staple in special needs planning. Persons with disabilities use them, families still need to understand them, and SNT Trustees can maximize benefits by using them. This session covers the fundamentals of ABLE, who qualifies, what benefits they receive, and what limitations are in the program. The speakers will then show how ABLE accounts are actually being used by persons with disabilities to enrich their lives. They will discuss how to evaluate the different ABLE programs and things to watch when choosing an ABLE program. Finally, the speakers will go through some of the practical issues they see in obtaining disbursements, coordinating with the SNT trustee, and possible future uses of ABLE

Break Visit with Exhibitors

11:05 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Sponsored by:
DA Davidson, Alcaine Halterbeck Investment Group
Kevin Urbatsch and Michele Fuller

The Tournament of Special Needs Knowledge

11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.

Join us for the spectacle and glamour of the return of the special needs knowledge tournament in which our expert panel provides questions under a specific topic heading, and the audience privately provides their response in our state-of-the-art computer system. You will cheer with every correct answer, you will groan at any incorrect response, and you will argue with the reasoning of the experts as they justify their answers. This action packed and fast-moving game is not for the timid. But take heart, for those with the knowledge and fortitude, it is a chance to walk away with valuable prizes.

Thank you

Grand Prize Drawing

12:45 p.m. -1:45pm

Thank You Esteemed Attendees, Sponsors, and Exhibitors