Stetsen National Special Needs Conference

I spent the last several days in Florida at the Stetson National Special Needs Conference and wanted to share some of the information that I found helpful at the conference.


I attended sessions with experts who opined on the effects on the Special Needs Community of the Affordable Care Act and the proposed ABLE legislation. There is a lot of confusion and disagreement on the impact of this legislation.

One immediate concern is with the on-line application process for the medical exchanges. One of the questions that must be answered to apply is whether or not the applicant is receiving Medi-Cal (Medicaid). If the applicant answers affirmatively, the session ends and the applicant cannot get a quote for the other possible insurances. This takes away the choice of paying for private insurance for a person with a disability without first giving up their benefits under Medi-Cal.


Currently, only one of the twelve death benefits available to veterans allow a special needs trust to be the beneficiary. Service members life insurance may name a special needs trust as the beneficiary. There is currently legislation in the house to allow additional benefits to designate a special needs trust as the beneficiary.


While this is not an area in which I practice, I attended a seminar to get an overview of the issues in education and the rights of the student and parents. We appear to be quite lucky in California with education for special needs, though still not perfect.


I went to a number of presentations that discussed the liability of trustees of special needs trusts. I have a list of suggestions for the trustees that we represent to help minimize their liability and maximize the benefits to the beneficiaries, which I will put into a future blog.


I particularly enjoyed the two presentations that I attended on designating SNTs as beneficiaries of IRAs and the effect to the RMDs (required minimum distributions). I learned not only the rules, but some creative ways to use them to maximize the benefit to the trust and ultimately the beneficiary.

* The information contained in this Blog is intended for general information and educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or an opinion of counsel.