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Supporting Special Needs Families: Exploring Trusts & ABLE Accounts

Supporting Special Needs Families: Exploring Trusts & ABLE Accounts

About This Webinar

This presentation will provide an overview of the different types of special needs trusts (first-party, third-party, and pooled trusts) and explain the value of these instruments for individuals with disabilities. The presenter will also explore the use of ABLE accounts as an alternative to special needs trusts, or as a tool to be used in conjunction with these trusts. Case scenarios will be used to compare the effectiveness of ABLE accounts with special needs trusts in maintaining eligibility for needs-based government benefits, avoiding Medicaid reimbursement, providing alternatives to guardianships, encouraging a beneficiary’s independence, avoiding unnecessary costs, and offering long-term financial strategies for families with special needs.

Learning Objectives:
  • Gain a comprehensive understanding of special needs trusts and ABLE accounts, including the unique features, advantages, and limitations of each tool.
  • Identify how ABLE accounts can be used in combination with special needs trusts to maximize SSI and simplify trust administration.
  • Discover strategies for selecting an appropriate trustee, directing income and assets to an ABLE account or trust, and determining proper expenditures of funds.
  • Review the process of assigning military survivor benefit plan (SBP) annuity payments and child support to a first-party special needs trust.
  • Receive materials that outline options for dealing with unexpected income and assets that threaten eligibility for important government benefits.
  • Develop a greater appreciation for the benefits of special needs estate planning and the critical need for such plans in families with special needs.


Alison Packard

The Packard Law Firm
San Antonio, Texas

Alison Packard is a special needs planning attorney with the Packard Law Firm in San Antonio, Texas.  Her practice focuses on estate planning (including special needs trusts), guardianship, alternatives to guardianship, general probate work and government benefits eligibility. Alison’s passion for her practice comes from her personal life as the mother to a beautiful 30-year-old daughter with significant special needs.  Alison knows what it means to fight for a child with disabilities.  She understands the worry that parents have as they plan for children who will always need resources, supports and services. Alison finds great joy in helping others on this journey.

Continuing education credit is available.

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