Leveraging Special Needs Trusts to Obtain Public Benefits

Crafting First Party, Third Party, and Pooled Special Needs Trusts

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

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Conducted on Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926
Course Materials

This CLE course will provide estate planning attorneys with a practical guide to selecting the appropriate type of special needs trust (SNT) and structuring the SNT to avoid jeopardizing public benefit eligibility. The panel will highlight key issues to consider in the administration of these trusts.


The U.S. Census estimates that 54 million people—19% of the population—suffer disabilities. Many qualify for SSI, SSA, Medicaid and state assistance programs. When establishing the terms of an SNT for such clients, preserving public benefits eligibility is critical.

After evaluating the most appropriate type of SNT, counsel must address the source of funds. Practitioners should consider whether assets of the SNT could disqualify the disabled person from receiving public benefits, how funds may be used, trust fund disbursements, and spending limits.

Trustee selection, fiduciary issues and trust administration are all integral to SNT planning. Counsel must also understand how disbursements from SNTs play a role in the planning process.

Listen as our authoritative panel of estate planning attorneys examines the various types of SNTs, the appropriate use for each, and best practices to structure SNTs to preserve public benefit eligibility. The panel will also highlight key issues in the administration of these trusts.



  1. Types of SNTs and criteria for selection
    1. Public benefits based on financial need
    2. First party
    3. Third party
    4. Pooled
  2. Structuring and drafting techniques
  3. Trust administration
    1. Funding the trust
    2. Trustee selection
    3. Trust disbursement


The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • What are the key considerations in determining whether an SNT is appropriate for a client's circumstances?
  • What clauses should be utilized in structuring an SNT to protect public benefit eligibility?
  • What practices should be considered in trust administration?

Following the speaker presentations, you'll have an opportunity to get answers to your specific questions during the interactive Q&A.


Kefalas Dudek, Patricia
Patricia E. Kefalas Dudek

Patricia E. Kefalas Dudek & Associates

Ms. Kefalas Dudek's practice focuses on elder law, Medicaid, estate planning, estates/trust administration,...  |  Read More

Whitenack, Shirley
Shirley B. Whitenack

Schenck Price Smith & King

As Co-Chair of the firm's Elder and Disability Law Practice Group, Ms. Whitenack devotes a substantial portion...  |  Read More

Edward Zetlin
Edward Zetlin

Edward Zetlin Law

He devotes his practice to the areas of disability law, guardianship/conservatorship, public benefits, elder law,...  |  Read More

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