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  • A Bi-Monthly Electronic Publication for Section Members
  • April 2013

Group & Committee News


Elder Law, Disability Planning and Bioethics Group

The Elder Law, Disability Planning and Bioethics Group will present the CLE session “Current Issues Affecting Special Needs Trusts: Important Updates” at the Spring Symposia on Thursday, May 2 from 3:15-4:45pm. This program features Katherine Barr as Program Chair and Moderator, with speakers David English, Patty Sitchler, Bernie Krooks, Mary O'Byrne, and a representative from the Social Security Administration. This panel of leading practitioners will discuss recent changes and clarifications by the Social Security Administration in its POMS regulations concerning evaluation of special needs trusts to determine whether they are excluded resources for purposes of SSI and Medicaid eligibility of persons with disabilities. In addition, the panel will explore continuing attempts by Social Security and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, as well as state Medicaid agencies, to determine "sole benefit" as it relates to special needs trusts. Drafting suggestions and practical solutions to problems being experienced as older special needs trusts are being reevaluated by government agencies will also be presented.

The group has been very active with its free group and committee conference calls. On January 10, the group hosted speakers Dominic J. Campisi and Steven H. Snyder to discuss embryo "personhood" legislation and its potential effect on inheritance rights, estate planning, and estate and trust administration. Materials for this call are posted on the Bioethics Committee website. On February 13, the group sponsored a conference call on powers of attorney. Professor Linda Whitton, reporter of the Uniform Power of Attorney Act, discussed the practical problems of conflicts of interest and duties in the modern world of powers of attorney. On March 20, the group sponsored a conference call on special needs trusts, which featured Brad Frigon who discussed the practical problems and issues involved in holding an IRA in a special needs trust.