Trust Distribution in Elder Law Planning and Administration: Standards and Challenges

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

Conducted on Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926
Course Materials

This CLE course will guide elder law attorneys on navigating trust distribution standards and challenges in elder planning and administration. The panel will discuss current distribution standards, including discretionary, HEMS, mandatory, and contingent trust distributions, and key considerations and drafting provisions for counsel. The panel will also discuss challenges for beneficiaries, choice of trustee, and key administration issues.


The use of trusts is an integral part of elder law planning. To handle these trusts properly for clients, counsel must know when trusts are appropriate, understand and define trust distribution standards, and how to draft first- and third-party trusts to protect public benefits and administer the trusts.

If drafted correctly, trust distribution standards may restrict access to trust income and assets. However, a discretionary standard within a trust doesn't necessarily mean that the trust is a protected discretionary trust, and courts can reach different conclusions when interpreting trust provisions. For support trusts, the level of protection needed for Medicaid purposes is nonexistent.

In addition to navigating issues presented by distribution standards, counsel must also understand tax consequences and the impact on a client's public benefits when utilizing trusts.

Listen as our panel of elder law practitioners discusses critical points regarding distribution standards, key considerations and drafting provisions for counsel, and the challenges for beneficiaries, choice of trustee, and key administration issues.



  1. Trust distributions standards
    1. Discretionary
    2. HEMS
    3. Unitrust
    4. SNTs
  2. Support vs. discretionary trusts and pitfalls to avoid
  3. Beneficiaries and administration challenges
  4. Best practices and drafting considerations for elder law counsel


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • What trust distribution standards are available and what are key challenges for elder law planning and administration?
  • What are the drafting considerations for support and discretionary trusts and pitfalls to avoid?
  • Managing beneficiaries and overcoming trust administrative challenges


Konvicka, Karen
Karen Dunivan Konvicka, J.D.

Director of Client Services and General Counsel
Commonwealth Community Trust

Ms. Dunivan Konvicka serves as Director of Client Services and General Counsel for Commonwealth Community Trust (CCT)....  |  Read More

Peterson, Valerie
Valerie Peterson, J.D.

Chief Executive Officer

Before joining ElderCounsel, Ms. Peterson focused her practice in the areas of elder law and estate planning. She is a...  |  Read More

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Strafford will process CLE credit for one person on each recording. All formats include course handouts.

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