10 Costly Mistakes to Avoid When Planning for a Loved One with Special Needs 1. Doing nothing. The most popular estate plan in the Unites States is doing nothing. While not a good idea for anyone, it is particularly troubling when there is a loved one with special needs. If someone does nothing and then.. read more →

Many attorneys create trusts, and some even create special needs trusts, often using pre-written templates.  So why, you may ask, do you really need an attorney whose practice focuses on special needs planning? It is important that special needs trusts not be unnecessarily inflexible and generic, which is what can happen with a “one size.. read more →

“Use of Special Needs Trusts in Cases Involving Divorce”  to be presented by leading NJ Elder Law and Estate Planning Attorney, Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq., who will also act as Moderator of the Symposium Donald D. Vanarelli, Esq. (http://VanarelliLaw.com/) will moderate and present at the Advanced Special Needs Trust Symposium given by the New Jersey Institute.. read more →

Reversing a federal district court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled that a state housing authority cannot count distributions from a special needs trust as income in determining eligibility under the Section 8 housing voucher program. DeCambre v. Brookline Housing Authority (1st Cir., Nos. 15-1458, 15-1515, June 14, 2016). Kimberly DeCambre, a disabled,.. read more →

A federal district court ruled that a public housing authority properly counted distributions from a special needs trust as income in concluding that the beneficiary of the trust was ineligible for a Section 8 housing voucher. DeCambre v. Brookline Housing Authority (D. Mass., No. 14-13425-WGY, March 25, 2015) Kimberly DeCambre, a disabled, 59 year old resident.. read more →

A Special Needs Trust, sometimes called a Supplemental Needs Trust (SNT), is a trust designed to qualify or preserve the trust beneficiary’s eligibility for government benefits based upon financial need, such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). These needs-based programs are often vital for the beneficiary of SNT, who is an individual with a.. read more →

Justice Laura L. Jacobson, a  New York trial judge, held that a trustee of a special needs trust breached its fiduciary duty to the trust beneficiary and ordered reimbursement of nearly $180,000 that was misspent on private caregivers, cab rides, and medications that could have been obtained from needs-based government sources.  Liranzo v. LI Jewish.. read more →

The following post contains a summary of the noteworthy trust cases decided by New Jersey courts in the past year and a half, in chronological order. I also included links to the articles about the cases posted on this blog.  (1)    Pfeifer v. Langone, 2012 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 429 (App. Div. Feb. 29, 2012)… read more →

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has revised its Program Operations Manual System (POMS) to allow first-party trusts to pay for travel expenses incurred by non-beneficiaries in limited cases. In addition, the revised POMS clarifies the rule that payment of some administrative expenses upon early termination of the trust or otherwise, including trustee fees, will not.. read more →

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently revised four sections of the Program Operations Manual System (POMS).  The POMS is a primary source of information used by Social Security employees to process claims for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Most of the changes to the POMS sections were administrative in nature. However, the.. read more →

An aged, low-income tenant with disabilities recently prevailed in a lawsuit filed against the Santa Monica Housing Authority, which had incorrectly increased her monthly rent by counting as income money received in a settlement and deposited into a Special Needs Trust. Sheila Finley v. City of Santa Monica, Case No. BS – 127077 (Superior Court.. read more →

(The following is part of a discussion, taken from a listserv, or electronic bulletin board, between attorneys involved in advising trustees of Special Needs Trusts (SNT). This discussion concerns the appropriateness of distributions from a Special Needs Trust to pay for medical marijuana to be used by the trust beneficiary who lives in the State.. read more →

Special needs trusts (also known as “supplemental needs” trusts) allow a disabled beneficiary to receive gifts, lawsuit settlements, or other funds and yet not lose his or her eligibility for certain government programs. Such trusts are drafted so that the funds will not be considered to belong to the beneficiary in determining eligibility for public.. read more →

It is well known that the vast majority of America’s 2.6 million children with special needs will need costly care long after their parents have passed away. However, a new study from Hartford Financial Services has found that three in five (62%) parents of children with special needs have no plan to cover the cost.. read more →