Planning With ABLE Accounts and Special Needs Trusts: Selecting the Best Approach for Elderly and Disabled Clients

Protecting Public Benefits With ABLE Accounts and SNTs; Understanding Limitations and Tax Implications; Avoiding Pitfalls

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


Conducted on Thursday, August 3, 2017
Recorded event now available


This CLE webinar will prepare elder law practitioners to utilize special needs trusts (SNTs) and Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act 529A accounts to ensure financial independence for elderly and disabled clients. The panel will help practitioners choose a strategy that is right for each client by discussing the benefits and limitations of 529A accounts, examining the key issues and pitfalls that arise when drafting SNTs, and outlining practical solutions to protect public benefits for clients using both financial tools.

Description

The ABLE Act added to the toolkit for practitioners advising elderly and disabled clients. The ABLE Act allows contributions to be made to tax-advantaged 529A accounts to pay qualified expenses for disabled individuals. A majority of states have implemented ABLE legislation and the IRS has encouraged states to quickly establish their ABLE programs.

ABLE accounts now join SNTs as valuable planning tools for elder law practitioners to help elderly and disabled clients achieve financial security. Counsel handling SNTs for clients must know when SNTs are appropriate, how to draft first- and third-party SNTs to protect public benefits for clients, and how to properly administer the trusts.

Counsel must also understand the potential tax consequences and impact on a client’s public benefits when establishing an ABLE account or an SNT. Practitioners must understand the pitfalls to avoid when amending SNTs and consider how guardianship and SNTs do or don’t mesh.

Listen as our panel of elder law practitioners discusses the use of SNTs and 529A accounts to ensure financial independence for elderly and disabled clients. The panel will help practitioners choose a strategy that is right for each client by discussing the benefits and limitations of 529A accounts, examining the key issues and pitfalls that arise when drafting SNTs, and outlining practical solutions to protect public benefits for clients using both financial tools.

Outline

  1. ABLE account overview—coverage, contribution limit and maximum amount
    1. Definition of “disability”
    2. Establishing an ABLE account
    3. Qualified expenses
    4. Tax implications
    5. Mechanics of account management
  2. Special needs trusts
    1. Overview
    2. First party vs. third party
    3. Drafting considerations
    4. Tax implications
    5. Trust administration
    6. Preserving public benefits eligibility
  3. Choosing the right approach for each client

Benefits

The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • How can counsel best protect public benefits when drafting SNTs?
  • What tax issues should be considered in the drafting process?
  • What are the key limitations of ABLE accounts?
  • What pitfalls should be avoided when amending SNTs?
  • How do ABLE account assets affect public benefits?

Faculty

Elizabeth L. Gray, Principal
McCandlish Lillard, Fairfax, Va.

Ms. Gray has been practicing law since 1996 and is certified as an Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation (NELF). She focuses her practice in the areas of estate planning, elder law, special needs planning, guardianships, and the administration of estates. Her work includes the drafting of trusts (including special needs trusts, pet trusts, trusts to minimize income taxes and capital gains), wills, powers of attorney, medical powers of attorney, and other succession planning documents.

Robert P. Mascali, Esq.
The Center for Special Needs Trust Administration, Clearwater, Fla.

Mr. Mascali has more than 35 years of extensive experience helping individuals plan their estate and trust matters, the last 15 of which have concentrated on special needs planning for individuals with disabilities. Mr. Mascali previously served as Deputy Counsel and Managing Attorney for the New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities (now the Office for People with Development Disabilities). He serves on the New York State Bar Association's Executive Committee and as Co-Vice Chair of the Special Needs Planning and the Legislation Committees of the Elder Law and Special Needs Section. Mr. Mascali is the President of the New York Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA).


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