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Special Needs Trusts & ABLE Accounts

Wed February 26, 2020: 11:00 am-12:00 pm EST


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special needs trusts

About This Webinar:

This presentation provides an overview of the different types of special needs trusts (self-settled, third-party, and pooled trusts) and explains the circumstances under which each type of trust could be beneficial. Topics of discussion include the items and services that can be paid for by special needs trusts, the relationship between shelter payments and certain government benefits, and general considerations for selecting an appropriate trustee.

The presenter explores the use of ABLE Accounts and describes the strengths and limitations of this new special needs planning tool. The training compares the effectiveness of ABLE accounts versus special needs trusts in maintaining eligibility for needs-based government benefits, avoiding Medicaid paybacks, providing alternatives to guardianships, and offering long-term financial strategies for families wishing to provide for loved ones with special needs.

Learning Objectives

  • Gain a better understanding of the different types of special needs trusts and when a Medicaid payback is required.
  • Learn how ABLE accounts can be used in combination with or in place of special needs trusts.
  • Discover strategies to receive the maximum SSI award—even when the SSI recipient lives at home and receives “in-kind support and maintenance.”
  • Understand the critical need for long-term estate planning for individuals with special needs.


Alison Packard
Packard Law Firm – San Antonio, Texas

  • Brigham Young University, J.D.
  • State Bar of Texas and Texas Bar College
  • Academy of Special Needs Planners
  • National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Special Needs Chapter
  • Board of Directors, Epilepsy Foundation of Central and South Texas

Alison graduated with honors from BYU Law School and now practices law in San Antonio, Texas. Her life changed dramatically when she gave birth to a daughter with significant medical concerns and disabilities. Alison postponed her legal career to devote all her efforts to caring for her daughter and other three children. When she returned to the practice of law, she naturally gravitated to helping clients who care for family members with special needs.

Alison understands and loves her clients. She knows what it is like to fight for and worry about a child with disabilities. Alison focuses her practice on special needs planning, including trust and estate work, government benefits, guardianships and alternatives to guardianship. Alison is a frequent presenter at conferences and legal seminars that concentrate on bettering the lives of individuals with special needs.

Continuing Education (CE) Credit

Click the button below for CE credit
You will be prompted to complete an evaluation after which a link will be provided.

Continuing Education

  • Social Work, LPC, LMFT: Programming approval for 1.0 CE credits will be obtained for Social Work, Licensed Professional Counselors, and Licensed Marriage & Family Therapists from the University of Texas at Austin, Steve Hicks School of Social Work. Check with your state licensing agency for reciprocity and/or credit approval if licensed for other professions or in one of the following states: CO, FL, HI, IA, KS, KY, MI, NY, ND, OH, OK
  • Case Manager: This program has been submitted to the Commission for Case Manager Certification for approval to provide board certified case managers with 1.0 clock hours.
  • Certificates of completion are available for providers interested in documenting their training activities.
  • For a complete list of Military Caregiving courses for CE credit go to: Military Families

Event Materials

Webinar Slides (PDF)

Special Needs Trusts vs. ABLE Accounts (PDF)

Estate Planning Resources 

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