2024 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

View Sponsorship Opportunities
Day One

Thursday, Feb. 22nd, 2024

Registration and Continental Breakfast

7:30am – 8:30am

Welcome Sponsor:
The Urbatsch Law Firm PC
Breakfast Sponsor:
Moving to Mastery LLC


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 Fisher Fiduciary Services, Inc

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.
Kevin Urbatsch and James Huyck

(Pre-Session) – 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.
Michele Fuller and Kimberly Lee

(Pre-Session) – Balancing Growth and Success: Strategizing Your Great Practice and Great Life

8:30am – 10:30am

As a professional, you possess excellent skills, but to foster continuous growth and success, you need to master business skills that drive your business forward. This workshop will empower you to plan your great life and create a strategy to achieve it over the next 24 months. By focusing on key areas such as time management, marketing, team building, and profitability, you’ll discover how to align your professional strategies with your personal goals.

Our primary objectives are to inspire you to think about long-term practice growth strategies rather than short-term cash-focused tasks, elevate your expectations for 2024, and help you formulate a plan for immediate implementation. Our ultimate aspiration is that you return next year, proclaiming it to be your best year ever.

Whether you’re facing challenges in client acquisition, meeting revenue targets, managing time off, or addressing staffing concerns, this workshop is designed to support you. Join us to raise the bar and utilize essential business skills that will propel the growth of your practice while maintaining a fulfilling personal life.

Break Visit with Exhibitors

10:30am – 11:00am

Sponsored by:
Campbell Green LLP
Lauriann Wright and Francine R. Lee

(Fiduciary Topic) SNT Trustee Accounting Challenges

11:00am – 12:30pm

Fiduciaries owe many duties to the beneficiaries of the trusts they manage. Some of these duties include the duty of loyalty, good faith, prudence, care, frugality, and impartiality. There is an uptick in the volume of fiduciary litigation. Fiduciary accountings provide a road map as to how a trust or estate was managed for the fiduciary, the beneficiaries, the lawyers, and the Court. The Co-Panelists will discuss “Fiduciary Accounting Nightmares”, the role accountings play in contested situations, common red flags, resolution alternatives, ethical considerations, and case studies. An interesting perspective of the role accountings play in finding out the truth.
Ann Koerner, Nena Sheldon and Jess Jones

(Attorney Topic) Comprehensive Estate Planning for Families with a Special Needs Loved One: Protecting Their Legacy, Ensuring Their Care

11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

As an attorney specializing in estate planning, it is crucial to understand the specific considerations and challenges faced by families with a special needs loved one. Join us for an in-depth session tailored for legal professionals, where we will explore the intricacies of estate planning in this unique context.

During this session, our experienced speakers will delve into the legal aspects and best practices of estate planning for families with special needs individuals. We will discuss the importance of establishing special needs trusts, ABLE accounts and other relevant legal structures to preserve government benefits and protect the financial security of your client’s loved ones.

Through a series of comprehensive case studies and practical examples, we will also examine lifetime planning, including caregiver succession planning, conservatorship, and decision-making strategies.

Networking Lunch

12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Sponsored by:
Advocacy, Inc
Jeremy Lau, Andrew de Vries, Teresa Gorman and Robyn Farber

(Fiduciary Topic) Navigating Financial Responsibilities: Home, Car, and Caregiving Payments through a Special Needs Trust

2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

In this informative session, featuring a distinguished group of professionals, including an experienced attorney specializing in special needs planning, a seasoned financial advisor well-versed in SNT investment, a trusted professional fiduciary, and a knowledgeable real estate broker will explore the intricacies of managing financial responsibilities associated with home ownership, car expenses, and caregiving services through a Special Needs Trust (SNT). This session will provide valuable insights and practical guidance on effectively utilizing the trust to meet these essential needs.

Join us for this comprehensive session where experts in SNT administration will provide valuable insights and practical strategies for effectively utilizing the trust to pay for home and car expenses as well as caregiving services. Whether you are new to SNTs or seeking to enhance your knowledge, this session will equip you with the tools to navigate these financial responsibilities with confidence and ensure the well-being of individuals with special needs.
Linda Durston

(Attorney Topic) Drafting Considerations for Third-Party Special Needs Trusts: Empowering Personalized Solutions

2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Certain elements are required for a third-party special needs trust (SNT) to protect a beneficiary’s eligibility for public benefits. However, third-party special needs trusts are substantially different from first-party special needs trusts and offer considerably more flexibility. This flexibility is important because the abilities and needs of beneficiaries with special needs vary as widely as the aspirations and concerns of the settlors.

In this interactive session, we will review the core elements of the third-party SNT and identify provisions that are unnecessary, counter-productive, or self-defeating. We will focus, however, on options drafters may offer clients whose situations fall outside of the box, who may not recognize the disability of their loved one, as well as drafting options for beneficiaries who deny their disability and might forever be hurt or resent their parents for having directed their inheritance to a “special needs” trust. We will consider the use of third-party SNTs for planning for multiple beneficiaries with special needs, for spouses, and for the child in second marriage situations. We will discuss provisions for beneficiaries whose disability includes substance abuse and other difficult behaviors, or who can be expected to want to break the trust. Attendees will have opportunity to share other issues and creative solutions for third-party SNT drafting and administration.

Attend to understand the core provisions that enable third-party SNTs to protect public benefits and to appreciate the flexibility of this essential planning tool.

Break Visit with Exhibitors

3:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

Sponsored by:
Trust Asset Service Company
Dan Cutter and Scott MacDonald

(Fiduciary Topic) Navigating Turbulent Waters: Best Fiduciary Practices for Investing During Challenging Times

4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

This session is specifically tailored to SNT trustees to provide them with the knowledge and skills required to manage investments during challenging times. SNTs require unique considerations and responsibilities. In this course, trustees will learn the key principles of fiduciary investing, including risk management, asset allocation, and portfolio diversification. They will also learn how to select and monitor investment managers experienced in managing SNT assets. The course will also cover important legal and regulatory requirements, such as Uniform Prudent Investor Act compliance.

Additionally, the course will address how economic and market conditions can impact special SNT investments and provide trustees with practical strategies for navigating these challenges. Trustees will leave the course with a comprehensive understanding of their fiduciary duties related to SNT investing during challenging times and the tools and knowledge necessary to fulfill those duties effectively, ensuring that the beneficiaries receive the support they need to thrive.
Will Doyle and Melanie Emmons

(Attorney Topic) Strategies Unveiled: Case Studies for Attorneys in Special Needs Planning

4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Delve into the intricacies in special needs planning as we dive into case studies focused on special needs planning using special needs trusts, ABLE accounts, supported decision making, and limited conservatorships. Join us for an enlightening session where we reveal proven strategies that will elevate your practice to new heights. Through a series of compelling case studies, we will explore the intricate challenges and innovative solutions encountered in special needs planning. Witness firsthand the power of strategic legal strategies to navigate complex government benefit rules, family dynamics, and capacity issues of person with special needs.

Gain practical insights and actionable guidance as we analyze the intricacies of each case study, examining the legal nuances, financial considerations, using collaborative partnerships with other professionals and ethical dilemmas that arise. By participating in this session, you will emerge equipped with a toolkit of effective strategies, empowering you to confidently navigate the intricacies of special needs planning.

Welcome Cocktail Reception

6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

sponsored by:
Day Two

Friday, Feb. 23rd, 2024

Full Breakfast

7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m.

sponsored by:
Moving to Mastery LLC
Kevin Urbatsch

Recent Developments in Special Needs Planning

8:00 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.

Stay ahead of the curve with our Recent Developments in Special Needs Planning session. Dive into the ever-evolving landscape of case law, statutes, and policy changes that impact individuals with disabilities and their families. Gain a comprehensive understanding of the latest legal and regulatory updates, empowering you to craft effective, compliant, and forward-thinking special needs plans. Whether you’re an attorney, financial advisor, or professional fiduciary, this session will give you the critical insights needed to navigate this dynamic field confidently and professionally.

Break Visit with Exhibitors

9:45 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.

Sponsored by:
21st Century Care Solutions

Blaine Brockman

Demystifying Section 8 and HOTMA’s Impact on Persons with Disabilities

10:15 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Step into the realm where housing opportunities and financial stability converge for persons with disabilities. Section 8, the lifeline that enables individuals to secure suitable apartments despite limited income, has undergone a monumental transformation with the Housing Opportunities Through Modernization Act (HOTMA). This riveting session unveils the latest rules reshaping Section 8 and explores the profound implications they hold for those in need.

Mark your calendars for an eye-opening journey into the uncharted territory of Section 8. Effective January 1, 2024, the landscape has forever changed. Prepare to be astounded as we dissect the newly introduced asset test, a game-changer in the realm of housing assistance. Brace yourself for the tectonic shift in income rules, a seismic alteration with far-reaching consequences. Above all, we unravel the pivotal question on everyone’s minds: how will your local Public Housing Association (PHA) handle assets and distributions from Special Needs Trusts under HOTMA?

Ignorance of these new rules can unleash a whirlwind of dire consequences for clients fortunate enough to possess the coveted Section 8 voucher. The stakes have never been higher, making it imperative to grasp the intricacies of this evolving landscape. Join us as we decode the complexities, unveil critical insights, and equip you with the knowledge to safeguard the interests of those relying on Section 8.

Don’t let this opportunity slip away—embrace the challenge, shatter the barriers, and emerge as a beacon of hope for your clients. Together, let’s navigate the transformative terrain of HOTMA and ensure that persons with disabilities have access to the stable, suitable housing they deserve.

Networking Lunch

12:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.

Sponsored by:
Advocacy, Inc
Mediator: Judge Mary T. House w/ Susanne Cohen, Greg Lederman, Meredith Taylor and Roxanne Gunther

From Conflict to Collaboration: How Mediation Transforms Special Needs Trust Lawsuits

1:15 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.

This immersive and dynamic session offers attorneys and trustees a firsthand experience of the power of mediation in the context of special needs trusts. Through a realistic and engaging simulated mediation exercise, participants will gain practical insights into the advantages of mediation and develop essential skills for effectively navigating conflicts and reaching mutually beneficial outcomes.

Participants will witness the benefits of mediation in action, including improved communication, enhanced understanding of each party’s interests, and the opportunity for creative problem-solving. They will learn to navigate sensitive issues and build collaborative relationships with other stakeholders, fostering a cooperative and client-centered approach to resolving disputes in special needs trust matters.

By the end of this session, attorneys and trustees will have honed their negotiation skills, gained confidence in their ability to advocate for their clients’ interests, and developed a deep appreciation for the transformative power of mediation. They will leave with practical strategies and insights that they can immediately apply in their professional practice, enabling them to effectively utilize mediation to resolve conflicts, preserve relationships, and promote the best interests of individuals with special needs.

Break Visit with Exhibitors

2:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

sponsored by:
Family Network on Disabilities
Frank Acuña

Advanced Fiduciary Tax Planning Strategies for Third-Party Special Needs Trusts

3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Tax is very easy once you learn all the rules, the exceptions to the rules, and the exceptions to the exceptions. By the time you almost have it figured out, Congress changes the rules. In this session, participants will gain a comprehensive understanding of fiduciary tax planning specifically tailored for third-party special needs trusts. Designed for special needs attorneys, financial advisors, and trust administrators, this session delves into the intricacies of managing and optimizing tax considerations for trusts established to support individuals with special needs.

Break Visit with Exhibitors

4:30 p.m. – 4:45 p.m.

sponsored by:
Hahn & Hahn
Hon. Roger Lund, Judge Ana Maria Luna and Case Management Attorney Kelly Berlingeri

Judicial Perspectives Unveiled: Practical Insights on SNT Attorney and Trustee Fee Requests

4:45 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Join us for a focused and informative session that delves into the probate court’s review of SNT attorney and trustee fee requests. This session provides valuable insights and practical guidance on presenting fee requests for SNT attorneys and trustees within the probate court system. During this session, our expert panel, comprised of judges with extensive experience in SNT matters, will guide participants through a detailed examination of the probate court’s review process. Gain a comprehensive understanding of the specific considerations, factors, and expectations involved in assessing SNT attorney and trustee fee requests.

Learn best practices for presenting fee requests, including strategies for effectively justifying the requested fees based on factors such as complexity, time spent, case outcomes, and fiduciary duties. Gain valuable insights into ethical considerations and fee agreement structures that align with the court’s expectations and ensure fair compensation while upholding the best interests of the beneficiaries.
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. 24th, 2024

Full Breakfast

7:00 a.m. – 8:00 a.m.

Sponsored by:
Moving to Mastery LLC
Elijah Keyes

Digital Tools for Special Needs Planning: Empowering Professionals

8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

This session explores the latest digital tools and technologies that can empower professionals in special needs planning. Attendees will discover innovative case management systems, document organization platforms, and communication tools designed specifically for their needs. Through practical demonstrations and discussions, participants will learn how to leverage these digital solutions to streamline their workflow, enhance collaboration with clients and colleagues, and improve overall efficiency and effectiveness in their practice. Additionally, the session will address privacy and compliance considerations to ensure technology’s responsible and ethical use in special needs planning. Join us to discover the transformative potential of technology in empowering attorneys and professionals in their mission to assist individuals with disabilities.

Break Visit with Exhibitors

9:30 a.m. – 9:50 a.m.

Sponsored by:
Medivest Benefit Advisors, Inc.
Hon. Mary T. House (ret.), Hon. Ana Maria Luna, and Hon. Kim Hubbard (ret.) – Los Angeles County Superior Court

Cracking the Judicial Code: Enhancing Attorney and Fiduciary Communications

9:50 a.m. – 11:05 p.m.

Gain valuable insights into the thinking process of judges and learn practical strategies to improve attorney and fiduciary communications. Discover the key factors influencing judicial rulings and learn techniques for crafting persuasive arguments, structuring written submissions, and delivering compelling oral presentations that resonate with judges.

Real-life examples and interactive discussions will provide practical guidance for establishing strong connections with judges and achieving better legal outcomes.

Break Visit with Exhibitors

11:05 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Sponsored by:
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