Pennsylvania Special Needs Planning Guide (Includes book + digital download)

Bisel Publishing


Third Edition

Published: February 2020
Most recent supplement/update: 2024 Supplement published February 2024.
Library of Congress Control Number: 2010940718
ISBN: 978-0-9970199-2-6

The Guide provides an overview and analysis of relevant law, including traps for the unwary, plus examples, practice tips, forms, resources, POMS, and full court opinions.  The Third Edition of the Pennsylvania Special Needs Planning Guide, containing over 900 pages, has been fully updated to include recent changes in laws, rules, and policies relevant to special needs planning:

  • 2018 and 2019 revisions to the Social Security Administration’s Program Operations Manual System (POMS) policy manual, including liberalized standards for distributions from SNTs and a discussion of the archived POMS related to attorney fee provisions;
  • Changes to Pennsylvania Orphans’ Court Rules regarding guardianship petitions, proof of incapacity, and mandated reporting by guardians;
  • Tax changes occasioned by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act of 2019;
  • Changes in how the “stretch” applies to inherited IRAs under the SECURE Act.

The Edition also includes updated and expanded discussions of topics such as: Medicaid’s implementation of Community HealthChoices and changes to waiver programs after CHC’s adoption; sole benefit trusts funded as part of a grantor’s spenddown to qualify for Medicaid; naming SNTs as beneficiary of an IRA or military Survivor Benefit Plan; and the effect of SNTs upon liability for child support or alimony.

  • People with disabilities are a significant and growing segment of our society, and services keyed to the needs of this population and their families is an important and expanding field within the practice of law. The Pennsylvania Special Needs Planning Guide offers a comprehensive discussion of special needs trusts, which often are a cornerstone of special needs planning, and also includes discussions of other topics relevant to persons with special needs. The Guide provides an overview and analysis of relevant law, including traps for the unwary, as well as examples, practice tips, and forms. The Guide will help you address the needs of your clients with confidence and up-to-date information.

    The Author Answers These Questions and Many More!

    • What governmental programs are available to help disabled persons, and what are their eligibility requirements?
    • How can I determine which special needs trust will best meet my client's needs?
    • Which expenditures should be made prior to funding a special needs trust?
    • What are the requirements for drafting a valid special needs trust?
    • How can I ensure that governmental benefits are not compromised by trust distributions?
    • Where does the ABLE Act fit in to disability planning?
    • How can I help individuals and families plan for medical decision-making, surrogate decision makers, and successor caregivers?
    • How can alimony, child support, and military Survivor Benefit Plan payments be structured so as not to interfere with the recipient's benefits eligibility?


    Table of Cases
    In Gratitude
    About the Authors
    Table of Contents
    Table of Text Forms
    1. Introduction
    2. Benefits Overview
    3. Self-Settled Special Needs Trusts
    4. Third-Party Special Needs Trusts
    5. Pooled Speacial Needs Trusts
    6. Funding A Special Needs Trust
    7. Administration of a Special Needs Trust
    8. Taxation of Special Needs Trusts
    9. Letters of Intent
    10. Powers of Attorney
    11. Guardianships
    12. The Decision Makers
    13. Able Accounts
    14. Special Needs Planning and Divorce
    Appendix A Special Needs Planning Resources
    Appendix B Selected POMS
    Appendix C Selected Full Text Court Opinions