Expert Guidance on Pooled Special Needs Trusts: Protecting your client’s assets and their eligibility for public benefits

Joanne Marcus, MSW
Joanne Marcus, MSW
Commonwealth Community Trust

Joanne Marcus, MSW, serves as the President and CEO of Commonwealth Community Trust (CCT). Ms. Marcus has worked in nonprofit administration since 1978 and has led CCT since 2000.

Rachel Baer, Esq.
Rachel Baer, Esq.
Commonwealth Community Trust

Rachel Baer, Esq. is Counsel and Director of New Client Services at Commonwealth Community Trust, a non-profit pooled trust administrator serving beneficiaries across the United States who are injured, vulnerable, or have special needs.

Live Video-Broadcast: June 20, 2023

Expert Guidance on Pooled Special Needs Trusts: Protecting your client’s assets and their eligibility for public benefits

$195.00 1.5 hour CLE

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Program Summary

This webinar will provide a comprehensive overview of Pooled Special Needs Trusts (PSNTs) for attorneys who serve clients with disabilities. It will cover various aspects such as the importance of the topic, eligibility criteria for a special needs trust, and the types of public benefits that affect eligibility. The presentation will explore the history and governing law of PSNTs and how they aim to enhance the quality of life of beneficiaries while safeguarding their assets and eligibility for government benefits. It will also outline the different types of PSNTs and how they are administered, including the duties of the PSNT Trust Administrator and the disbursement decision-making process.

The agenda will end with case studies that illustrate how PSNTs can be used in various scenarios, such as estate planning for parents of children with disabilities and assisting attorneys with settlement agreements for clients with disabilities. This presentation will provide valuable insights for attorneys on how they can use PSNTs to help their clients provide for their loved ones with disabilities while protecting their public benefits eligibility.

This course is co-sponsored with myLawCLE.

Key topics to be discussed:

  • Why Should Attorneys Care About this Topic?
  • Who is Eligible for a Special Needs Trust?
  • Overview of Pooled Special Needs Trusts
  • Pooled Special Needs Trusts Administration
  • Case Studies

Date / Time: June 20, 2023

  • 11:00 am – 12:40 pm Eastern
  • 10:00 am – 11:40 am Central
  • 9:00 am – 10:40 am Mountain
  • 8:00 am – 9:40 am Pacific

Closed-captioning available

Speakers

Joanne Marcus, MSW_Commonwealth Community Trust_FedBarJoanne Marcus, MSW | Commonwealth Community Trust

Joanne Marcus, MSW, serves as the President and CEO of Commonwealth Community Trust (CCT). Ms. Marcus has worked in nonprofit administration since 1978 and has led CCT since 2000. As an expert in the field of Pooled Special Needs Trust administration, Ms. Marcus has published numerous articles for professional organizations including The National Alliance on Mental Illness and The National Medicare Secondary Payer Network. Ms. Marcus is frequently asked to present to professional organizations and family groups nationwide including The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, The American Academy of Estate Planners, The United Spinal Association, and Stetson University College of Law.

CCT was founded in 1990. Under the leadership of Ms. Marcus, CCT has grown to serve over 2,000 trust beneficiaries that are vulnerable, injured, or have special needs throughout the United States.

 

Rachel Baer, Esq_Commonwealth Community Trust_FedBarRachel Baer, Esq. | Commonwealth Community Trust

Rachel Baer, Esq. is Counsel and Director of New Client Services at Commonwealth Community Trust, a non-profit pooled trust administrator serving beneficiaries across the United States who are injured, vulnerable, or have special needs. Prior to joining CCT, Ms. Baer was a partner at Family First Law Group, PLLC, in Alexandria, Virginia, and her practice focused on estate planning, estate and trust administration, and guardianship and conservatorship. Before entering private practice, Ms. Baer served as an Assistant Attorney General in the Virginia Attorney General’s Health Services Section from 2010 to 2012, helping to advise several state agencies that provide services to persons with disabilities.

Agenda

I. Why Should Attorneys Care About this Topic? | 11:00am – 11:20am

  • Serve clients with a disability
  • Help clients provide for loved ones with a disability
  • Avoid losing means-tested benefits for clients or their loved ones

II. Who is Eligible for a Special Needs Trust? | 11:20am – 11:40am

  • Public Benefits Primer: Understand which government assistance programs received by the client are critical
    • Eligibility
      •  “Disability”
      • “Basic support”
    • Means-tested public benefits
      • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
      • Medicaid
      • Entitlement public benefits
      • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
      • Medicare
  • Protecting assets for individuals who are vulnerable or cannot manage their funds due to the nature of their disability

III. Overview of Pooled Special Needs Trusts | 11:40am – 12:00pm

  • History and governing law
  • Purpose
    • Enhance quality of life of beneficiary
    • Preserve means-tested government benefits
    • Protect beneficiary’s best interest
  • Types of Pooled Special Needs Trusts
    • First-party
      • Funds from person with a disability (employment, court award, inheritance, etc.)
      • Remainder policy with Medicaid payback
      • Example
    • Third-party
      • Funds from other people
      • Remainder policy
      • Example

Break | 12:00pm – 12:10pm

IV. Pooled Special Needs Trusts Administration | 12:10pm – 12:25pm

  • What is a PSNT and its benefits?
    • Staff expertise in distribution rules
    • Lower minimums to join /maintain account and often lower fees
    • Pooling of funds for greater returns
    • Accountability
    • Simple to join
  • Duties of PSNT Trust Administrator
    • Exercise sole discretion to approve prudent distribution requests
    • Work with advocate, and client if possible, to understand the client’s needs
    • Expertise in SSI and Medicaid rules, including sole benefit rule
    • Timely communication with client/advocate
    • Provide access to client account records to advocate
  • Special Needs Trust Distributions
    • Disbursement decision-making roles & responsibilities
    • How funds can be spent
    • Traps that could jeopardize public benefits
    • How PSNTs and ABLE Act accounts intersect

V. Case Studies | 12:25pm – 12:40pm

  • Estate planning for the parent of a child with a disability
  • Beneficiary with a disability receiving an inheritance outright
  • Assisting a personal injury / workers’ compensation attorney draft a settlement agreement for a plaintiff with a disability