Special Needs Trusts for the Elderly and Individuals with Disabilities 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 30, 2019

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926
Program Materials

This CLE webinar will prepare elder law practitioners to identify and deal with the crucial 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 handle these trusts properly 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 administer the trusts.

Since becoming law, the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act permits mentally competent individuals with disabilities to establish special needs trusts for their benefit. In the past, only parents, grandparents, legal guardians or a court could set up trusts on behalf of a disabled person.

Counsel must also understand 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 critical points for elder law counsel to understand and weigh when drafting first- and third-party special needs trusts. The presenters will also outline the potential hazards for counsel when amending special needs trusts.



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


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • How can counsel best protect public benefits when drafting special needs trusts?
  • What are the tax issues to consider in the drafting process?
  • What pitfalls may arise when amending special needs trusts?


Gray, Elizabeth
Elizabeth L. Gray

McCandlish Lillard

Ms. Gray has been practicing law since 1996 and is certified as an Elder Law Attorney by the National Elder Law...  |  Read More

Kelim, Kyla
Kyla G. Kelim

Aging in Alabama

Ms. Kelim focuses her practice on proactive planning involving those in need concerning Medicaid, Medicare and Social...  |  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

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