Structuring Special Needs Trusts for the Elderly and Disabled to Protect Public Benefits

Administering First- and Third-Party Trusts; Addressing the Interplay Between SNTs, Guardianships and Conservatorships

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

Conducted on Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Recorded event now available

This CLE webinar will prepare elder law practitioners to identify and deal with the key issues and pitfalls that arise when drafting special needs trusts. The panel will outline practical solutions to protect public benefits for clients.


Special needs trusts are an integral part of an elder law practice. To properly handle these trusts for clients, counsel must know when special needs trusts are appropriate, how to draft first-and third-party special needs trusts to protect public benefits for clients, and how to properly administer the trusts.

Effective Dec. 2016, the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act permits mentally competent individuals with disabilities to establish special needs trusts for their own benefit. In the past, only parents, grandparents, legal guardians or a Court could establish trusts on behalf of a disabled person.

Counsel must also understand potential tax consequences and the impact on a client’s public benefits when establishing a special needs trust. Practitioners must be aware of pitfalls to avoid when amending special needs trusts and consider how guardianship and special needs trusts do and don't mesh.

Listen as our panel of elder law practitioners discusses key points for elder law counsel to understand and weigh when drafting first- and third-party special needs trusts. The panel will also outline the potential hazards for counsel when amending special needs trusts.


  1. SNT overview
  2. Public benefits considerations
  3. Tax issues
  4. Relationship between guardianships and SNT
  5. Drafting considerations
  6. Pitfalls to avoid


The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • How can counsel best protect public benefits when drafting special needs trusts?
  • What tax issues should be considered in the drafting process?
  • What pitfalls should be avoided when amending special needs trusts?


Shirley B. Whitenack, Partner
Schenck Price Smith & King, Florham Park, N.J.

As Co-Chair of the firm's Elder and Disability Law Practice Group, Ms. Whitenack devotes a substantial portion of her practice to trust and estate litigation and elder and disability law, particularly surrogate arrangements to protect the elderly and people with disabilities, special needs planning and Medicaid appeals. She is a frequent author and lecturer on estate, elder and disability law issues.

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.

Kyla G. Kelim, Esq.
Aging in Alabama, Fairhope, Ala.

Ms. Kelim focuses her practice on proactive planning involving those in need concerning Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security. She is a nationally recognized speaker on nursing home Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security disability matters. She launched Aging in Alabama to help address the crisis in health care coverage facing seniors and their caregivers.


CLE On-Demand - Streaming Video

Includes recorded streaming video of full program plus PDF handouts.

On-demand is the only recorded format recognized for CLE credits in DE, IN, KS, LA, MS, NC, OH, OK, SC, TN, VA, WI.

AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN*, KS, KY, LA, ME, MN, MO, MT, NC, ND, NH**, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH*, OK, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY (Note: Some states restrict CLE eligibility based on the age of a program. Refer to our state CLE Map for additional information.)

*Only available for attorneys admitted for more than two years. For OH CLE credits, only programs recorded within the current calendar year are eligible - contact the CLE department for verification.

**NH attendees must self-determine if a program is eligible for credit and self-report their attendance.

CLE On-Demand Video $197.00

How does this work?

Recorded Event

Includes full event recording plus handouts.

Strafford is an approved provider and self-study CLE credit is available in most states.

AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, KY, ME, MN, MO, MT, ND, NJ, NM, NY, OR, PA, TN, TX, UT, VT, WA, WV, WY (Note: Some states restrict CLE eligibility based on the age of a program. Refer to our state CLE Map for additional information.)

Strafford will process CLE credit for one person on each recording.

Additional copies of a recording can be purchased at a discount. Please call Strafford Customer Service toll-free at 1-800-926-7926 ext 10 or email to place your order.

Recorded Webinar Download $197.00

How does this work?

Recorded Audio Download (MP3) $197.00

How does this work?


Strafford webinars offer several options for participation: online viewing of speaker-controlled PowerPoint presentations with audio via computer speakers or via phone; or audio only via telephone (download speaker handouts prior to the program).  Please note that our webinars do not feature videos of the presenters.

Program Materials

Requires Adobe Reader 8 or later. Download Acrobat FREE.

Program Materials

Requires Adobe Reader 8 or later. Download Acrobat FREE.

or call 1-800-926-7926

CLE Credits

Many states grant CLE credits for on-demand streaming audio programs and recorded events. Our programs are pre-approved in many states. Refer to our state CLE map for state-specific information.

or call 1-800-926-7926

Customer Reviews

The speakers prepared good outlines and followed them during their presentations.

John Wm Ringer

Ringer Law Office

I thought the review of Special Needs Trusts, in particular the requirements needed for proper creation, and the applicable law was extremely beneficial.

Chad Pfister

Harris, Harris & Gilbert

The speaker's command of the subject matter and his ability to explain difficult concepts in a way that could be understood by everyone was great.

Craig Cockrell

Mitchell Williams Law Firm

The program had a lot to cover and the speakers did a superb job of moving through the difficult subject matter.

Charles E. Chapin

Boomer Law

The presenters were lucid, articulate, and informative. The seminar exceeded my expectations.

Irvin Slate

Slate Law Office

or call 1-800-926-7926

Elder Law Advisory Board

David Goldfarb


Goldfarb Abrandt Salzman & Kutzin

David P. Pollan


The Pollan Law Firm

Linda M. Strohschein


Strohschein Law Group

or call 1-800-926-7926

Our Guarantee

Strafford webinars are backed by our 100% Unconditional Money-Back Guarantee: if you are not satisfied with any of our products, simply let us know and get a full refund. For more information regarding complaints and refunds, please contact us at 1-800-926-7926 ext 10. Complaints regarding this program can be submitted via the course evaluation found in the “Thank you” e-mail at the end of the course.