For more than a decade, the Academy of Special Needs Planners has been the best source of learning for professionals who plan for persons with special needs. ASNP's 12th Annual Meeting in Las Vegas continues this tradition with cutting-edge programs designed to help professionals provide the best services for their clients. Education is only one part of the program.
Meeting with colleagues from around the country enhances a practitioner's knowledge and skills, and many first-time attendees are amazed at the level of collaboration.
The third party special needs trust remains the most effective tool for the special needs planning professional. Often, drafters focus on public benefit's eligibility and preservation as the trust's sole purpose. Learn More
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is one of the primary financial benefits available to persons with disabilities. SSI is a federal program and run under federal rules. Learn More
Financial planning for a loved one with special needs is one of the best services a planner can provide. A complete financial plan will address some of the biggest concerns that people have when protecting a loved one with special needs. Learn More
This program will cover the different planning tools available to the professional when planning for a person with a disability. While first and third party special needs trusts are the primary planning tools, the professional has other options available to them. Learn More
By the time of the conference, the Social Security Administration (SSA) will have substantially modified ALL the rules about how it interprets Special Needs Trusts (SNTs). The author of these rules (known as the POMS), Kenneth Brown (alongside our very own David Lillesand) will provide a thorough overview of the changes. This is a game changer because ways of advising clients will change depending on what modifications the SSA made.REASON #2
Practitioners need to know what changes they need to make in their special needs planning practices. ASNP scoured the lands to find the best panel to discuss how professionals will be affected by the SSA’s changes. Travis Finchum will discuss how pooled trusts are affected, Michele Fuller will discuss how trust drafters need to modify their documents, and Allison Bren Ferris will explain the impact on SNT administration.REASON #1 REASON #3
Special needs planners who are just learning or need a refresher are fully covered in this year’s program. There are basic programs on Drafting Third-Party SNTs, Financial Planning for Persons with Disabilities, Public Benefits for Persons with Disabilities, Special Needs Planning, and Special Needs Trust Administration. Each program will provide a thorough overview of these essential topics and are taught by the top special needs planning professionals from around the country.REASON #2 REASON #4
Many special needs planners understand Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and are comfortable explaining how it works to clients. Yet, fewer understand Childhood Disabled Beneficiary (CDB) benefits. This program provides more money each month to persons with disabilities along with eligibility for Medicare. Clients may not even know they qualify for this valuable program. Be the hero to these clients by introducing them to this program. We are lucky to have the guru of special needs law Avram Sacks educating us on CDB.REASON #3 REASON #5
Questions arise when the beneficiary of an SNT has outstanding creditor issues. What if there is unpaid child support, back taxes, or a judgment creditor? Is the trustee of an SNT required to pay those bills? Can the creditor seize trust assets? What legal responsibilities and power does the trustee have in deciding whether to pay these types of creditors. Asset protection attorney Brian Steadman will let us know to what extent SNT assets are protected.REASON #4 REASON #6
Each client arrives with different needs and expectations. Professionals working with these clients need to understand how best to interact without causing offense. Do you shake hands with someone who is a quadriplegic? Do you take a person with blindness and direct them to their chair? These and other issues will be discussed by author and educator Linda Fitzpatrick. Ms. Fitzpatrick will lead an interactive conversation about the culture and needs of different disabilities, providing a thumbnail "Seven Themes" for special needs planners.REASON #5 REASON #7
For the first time ever, through the efforts of Kelly Piacenti of MassMutual, ASNP will have many of the CEOs of the nation’s leading charities that assist people with disabilities in a panel discussion. The panel will provide an overview of how these charities assist people with disabilities. Professionals can also learn how best they can work with charities in setting up a charitable donation and how to meet the charity’s consumers to educate them on the services a special needs planner offers.REASON #6 REASON #8
Our “Ask the Experts” program has been a real hit for the last several years. We have dedicated a whole program to answering questions on special needs planning that may not have been covered by the program. No question is too small or too big for the nation’s leading experts in all things special needs.REASON #7 REASON #9
Just minutes from the glamour and action of the Las Vegas Strip, the Green Valley Ranch Resort, Spa and Casino. This oasis in the desert offers all the excitement of Las Vegas while still pampering guests in luxury and personal service coupled with state-of-the-art technology. Plan to spend an extra day pampering yourself in the award-winning, European-style health spa, or take advantage of their state-of-the-art workout facility. Both are great ways to look and feel your best. The outdoor pool area spans more than three acres, overlooking the Las Vegas Strip. Manicured lawns and trees separate private cabanas and the infinity-edge dipping pools are a perfect place to soak up some sun and enjoy lunch and great music.REASON #8 REASON #10
What would the ASNP conference be without you, the participants? The best part of the conference is meeting colleagues from around the country in order to share knowledge, network, and commiserate. Who else understands you when you scream to the heavens about that unexpected POMS change? Who can nod knowingly when an SNT beneficiary is shouting at the injustice of an SNT distribution denial? No one but the special needs practitioner. The conference is the place for like-minded people to meet and help each other grow and prosper. That cannot happen without you being there.REASON #9
All cancellations must be received in writing. Cancellations received by March 9th (30 days in advance) will be issued a full refund, less an $50 administrative fee. No refunds will be issued after March 9th. Substitutions are welcome.
The POMS have been fundamentally altered concerning how the SSA interprets special needs trusts in their drafting and during administration. Former SSA attorney, Kenneth Brown drafted these revisions to the POMS. Mr. Brown will provide a short history of the POMS, what changes have been made to the POMS, and why such changes were made. Mr. Brown has stated that the new POMS are liberalized and made more reasonable. This program provides a unique look into the SSA and how it interprets SNTs.
The POMS have changed. What does this mean for the special needs practitioner? The inestimable David Lillesand will moderate the panel to explain how the POMS changes affect special needs planning and administration. The panel consists of special needs attorneys Michele Fuller who will discuss the effect of the new POMS on the drafting of first and third-party SNTs, Travis Finchum who will discuss the effect on Pooled SNTs, and Trust Administrator Allison Bren Ferris from Wells Fargo Bank will discuss the effect on SNT administration.
Some people call it Childhood Disabled Beneficiary Benefits and some call it Disabled Adult Child benefits. Regardless of the nomenclature this amazing program can provide Social Security financial benefits to your clients with disabilities arising prior to age 22, without an asset or income test and will even qualify them for Medicare (despite the person never paying into the system). Leading Social Security attorney Avram Sacks will describe this program; how it is different from SSI, but works with and complements that program, and tips for making sure clients are properly accessing it, techniques for making sure they do not lose it, and case studies that highlight its use.
People with disabilities have creditors. What rights do these creditors have in reaching the assets held in a third party or first party special needs trust? Creditor issues can arise for claims because of unpaid child or spousal support, IRS and State taxes, SSA overpayments, credit card debt, litigation judgments, or other unpaid creditors. Can the special needs trust protect trust assets from all creditors? Some creditors? Or no creditors? Attorney Brian Steadman will provide an overview of what rights creditors have in reaching these assets and whether planning can be done to better protect a person with a disability's assets.
The disability community is growing and ever-changing as medical, technological and legislative breakthroughs expand opportunities and move us beyond limiting attitudes and beliefs. Author and educator Linda Fitzpatrick will lead an interactive conversation about the culture and needs of different disabilities, providing a thumbnail "Seven Themes" for special needs planners.
Special needs planning professionals oftentimes work together with the charities such as the ARC, Easter Seals, and many others who provide essential services to people with disabilities. Our panel will provide an overview of the types of services these charities provide and how professionals can work with the charities in creating the best plan for their clients. Further, many families wish to leave assets to a charity that has helped their loved one with special needs. Our panel will discuss some of the most effective strategies in leaving charitable donations.
The last several years "Ask the Experts" program has been a big hit. This program provides the answers to any questions from attendees to the nation’s leading experts in all things special needs.
Ann Koerner is President of National Care Advisors – a firm dedicated to providing consulting services for attorneys, financial planners and trustees. National Care Advisors provides care and quality of life planning services for those families faced with physical disability, mental illness, developmental disability, or eldercare issues. Services include planning and case management applicable to Special Needs Trusts and government benefits preservation. National Care Advisors also specializes in post-litigation resolution consulting services specific to lien negotiation, Medicare Set Aside projections and administration. Prior to the inception of National Care Advisors in 2008, Ann’s nursing practice has been dedicated to developing effective disability management solutions for injured and ill workers. As a result of her work with many national corporations, Ann possesses extensive business knowledge of case management, utilization review, third party payers, workers’ compensation, private insurance companies and government resources. Ann received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree in 1981 from Russell Sage College in Troy, New York. She began her nursing practice as a Public Health Nurse in New York and then continued that practice with the City of Columbus Health Department. In 1992, Ann became a case manager with the national case management company, Concentra, focusing on the management of complex catastrophic workers’ compensation and disability claims throughout the United States. Her duties were expanded to include marketing and management of case management services in Ohio for this company. In 1996, Ann was selected to become the Director of Medical Operations and Self-Insured Marketing for CareWorks, the largest workers’ compensation managed care organization in Ohio. National Care Advisors now serves clients in over 30 states and is known for client-centered, practical solutions to meeting the needs of individuals and families with special needs challenges.
Michelle Fuller is Founder of the Michigan Law Center located in Sterling Heights, Michigan. Her practice focuses on elder and disability law, as well as post-settlement planning. Michele frequently serves as Guardian Ad Litem for a variety of courts, and frequently participates in seminars for attorneys, paralegals, service providers and parent groups. She has participated in community outreach and education programs with Blue Cross/Blue Shield and participated in an American Bar Association special needs trust webinar on administration issues.
Scott MacDonald is a Senior Vice President and Senior Financial Advisor. He has over 26 years of industry experience, joining Merrill Lynch in 1987. Mr. MacDonald has been featured in a variety of publications on serving clients with disabilities, including the San Francisco Chronicle, New York Times, Oakland Tribune, The Street.Com, AdvisorOne and a cover story in On Wall Street Magazine. He was a consulting author and editor of the attorney training manual -- Special Needs Trusts: Planning, Drafting, and Administration through the California Continuing Education of the Bar as well as for the book, Administrating the California Special Needs Trust. He has lectured extensively for various Bar and Consumer Attorney Associations, the Special Needs Alliance, the National Guardianship Association and the Professional Fiduciary Association of California. Scott has been extensively involved with many disability organizations, including the PRIDE Institute and Foundation, Down Syndrome Information Alliance, Autism Speaks, Society for Handicapped Children and Adults, Parents Helping Parents, Support for Families, Legal Assistance for Seniors, and the ARC of San Francisco. Mr. MacDonald created the Fiduciary and Special Needs Group, a team of Financial Advisors across California who leverage specialized training in the field of disability planning and prudent probate investing.
Attorney Susan A. Katzen didn’t plan on focusing her law practice on estate planning and special needs planning. Initially Susan began her professional career working legal cases related to personal injury litigation, business litigation, and estate planning. However she soon realized her passion lay in helping families care for and protect their loved ones.
With a husband and three children of her own, Susan understands the value of this peace of mind first hand. Based in Orange County, California, the Law Office of Susan A. Katzen is dedicated to providing comprehensive, highly personalized estate planning counsel to individuals, couples, families and businesses. Susan’s concentration is in special needs planning, as well as trust and probate administration.
Firmly believing that the best planning is the result of a team effort, Susan is also a member of several local and national organizations which serve the communities she meets in her practice. These organizations include the Academy of Special Needs Planners and the Special Needs Coalition, the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys, the National Association of Mental Illness, the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, ElderCounsel, LLC, Special Olympics Regional Leadership Council, and WealthCounsel, LLC. An advocate and supporter of educating her clients, Susan is a highly sought after speaker and author in her field. Her in-depth knowledge of estate planning, structuring special needs trusts, and the nuances of various public benefit programs enables her to skillfully create a plan for loved one that protects their interests, while preserving eligibility for needs based benefits for those family members who have special needs.
Travis D. Finchum received his Bachelor's of Science Degree and Law Degree from the University of Florida. Mr. Finchum is Board Certified as an Elder Law specialist by the Florida Bar. He is the Managing Partner for the law firm Special Needs Lawyers, P.A. and is a Partner with Karol, Hausman, Sosnik & Finchum, LLP. He is the past Chair of the Special Needs Trust Committee of the Florida Bar's Elder Law Section and currently serves on the Elder Law Board Certification Committee. He is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and the Academy of Florida Elder Law Attorneys. Mr. Finchum frequently speaks on the topics of Medicaid qualification, Special Needs Trusts, estate planning and taxation, including planning for incapacity and nursing home care, protecting assets from creditors, sheltering assets for family members with disabilities and public assistance programs. His practice also consists of probate, trust administration (particularly special needs trusts), trust reformation and sophisticated estate planning strategies. He sits on the faculty of the Lighting the Way Program providing statewide training on Guardianship and Guardianship Alternatives sponsored by the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council (www.guardianshiptraining.com).
VINCENT J. RUSSO, Managing Shareholder of Vincent J. Russo & Associates, P.C., Long Island’s Signature Elder Law, Special Needs and Estate Planning Law Firm with offices in Westbury, Islandia, Lido Beach and Manhattan, New York has championed the rights of seniors and people with special needs since 1985. Vincent is a Founding Member, Fellow and Fifth President of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) and is a Founding Member and First President of the New York Chapter of NAELA. He is the only NAELA member to receive the prestigious President’s Award twice. He is also a member of the invitation only, NAELA Council of Advanced Practitioners (CAP). He is a Founding and current Chair of the NAELA Foundation (NELF) and the current Chair of the NELF Programs Committee. Vincent is a Founding Member and Past Chair of the Elder Law Section of the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) and Co-Founder and Past Chair of the Board of ElderCounsel, LLC.
David J. Lillesand is the principal of Lillesand, Wolasky and Waks, P.L., attorneys with offices in Miami, St. Petersburg and Clearwater, Florida. The firm represents disabled children, adults and their families in Social Security/SSI disability claims, Medicaid, Special Needs Trusts, Guardianship and Estate Planning matters. David graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Political Behavior, and the University of Wisconsin Law School and began representing individuals with SSI disability claims in 1974. David has been Chair of the Special Needs Trust Committee of the Florida Bar's Elder Law Section. Since beginning private practice in 1979, he has been a frequent lecturer on Social Security disability, SSI, special needs trusts, Medicaid, guardianship, and legal and financial planning for disabled children and adults, before organizations such as the American Bar Association, the National Organization of Social Security Claimant Representatives, the national Society of Settlement Planners, the New Jersey Bar Association, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, and numerous Bar association continuing legal education programs. He received the ARC Plotkin Outstanding Legal Service Award for service to persons with intellectual disabilities, is a three-time recipient of the Pro Bono Volunteer of the Year Award from the South-Miami Kendall Bar Association, and received the Florida Bar President's Pro Bono Service Award for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit. He has been President of his two local bar associations, chairman of the South Florida Council on Divorce Mediation, and President of Guardianship and Case Management Services, Inc. and is Chair of the Florida Bar Elder Law Section Committee on Social Security/SSI.
Herb Thomas, CLPF, a California licensed private professional fiduciary (CLPF #86), is the principal fiduciary of Herb Thomas and Associates. Herb has a passion for people. He has extensive experience serving families throughout California with Special Needs Trusts, public benefits counseling and advocacy, Estate/Trust Administration, and Conservatorships. Additionally Herb is a board member of Behavioral Intervention Association (a non-profit dedicated to providing intervention services to children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families). Herb also served on the board for Legal Assistance for Seniors, East Bay.
Kelly Piacenti is the Assistant Vice President with MassMutual, based in Somerset, New Jersey. In this role She is responsible for the MassMutual SpecialCareSM program which includes over six hundred Special Care Planners. She also oversees partnerships between MassMutual and the largest special needs nonprofit organizations across the country; including Easterseals, The Arc, United Cerebral Palsy (UCP), Autism Society, National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC) and Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance. Piacenti serves on the National Board of Directors for both The Arc and TASH, national non-profit organizations advocating for people with disabilities. She also serves on the Advisory Board for The Academy of Special Needs Planners, as well as The American College MassMutual Center for Special Needs.
Kevin McGrath is the founder of McGrath Consulting. He leads the team, providing planning advice and portfolio consulting. After retiring from the United States Marine Corps in 1994 as a selected Lieutenant Colonel, where he flew A-4M Skyhawks, Kevin joined UBS Financial Services Inc. He is a graduate of the University of South Carolina. A Certified Financial Planner™ certificant, Kevin has earned the Series 7, 8, 63 and 65 securities licenses as well as health, life, long-term care, variable life and variable annuity insurance licenses. Committed to professional competence, Kevin maintains active membership in the Financial Planning Association of Georgia, Academy of Special Needs Planners, Atlanta Estate Planning Council and North Georgia Estate Planning Council, Georgia Planned Giving Council, Georgia Society of Association Executives, and Association of Fundraising Professionals. He volunteers as a Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Legacy Advisor.
Jerry Hulick started The Washington Group Special Care Planning Team in 2004, the same year as when he retired as General Agent of The Washington Group of MassMutual. Mr. Hulick is a pioneer and advocate for the special needs community, having spoken across the country at various conferences, forums, radio programs, and panels dealing with issues and planning for the special needs community. He has been active in the financial services industry for over 40 years and was among the first to whom The American College of Financial Services conferred the new Chartered Special Needs Consultant® (ChSNC®) designation. Mr. Hulick graduated from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. He is a member of the Virginia Tech Foundation Board, Virginia Tech National Campaign Chairman for the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, and Dean's Roundtable Executive Committee for the College of Science. He is a life member of Alpha Phi Omega Service Fraternity, charter member and past president of the Fair Oaks Rotary Club, and was an Elder with Faith Presbyterian Church of Alexandria, Virginia. Mr. Hulick is also very active with many local special needs non-profits such as ArtStream and The Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia’s Special Needs Department. His activism in the special needs community is also inspired by special needs individuals in his own family.
Melissa is a Senior Vice President & Special Needs Trust Advisory Specialist with Wells Fargo Special Needs Trust Services. She began her career in the legal field and then worked in various trust fiduciary roles prior to joining Wells Fargo in 2010. Melissa lectures frequently on various subjects and was also an adjunct professor at University of Miami Law School where she taught a course titled "Aging and Special Needs Law".
Melissa works directly with individuals with diverse abilities along with their family, support system, and other advisors. Melissa is part of the relationship team for clients who are the beneficiaries of first party SNTs, third party SNTs, and settlement protection trusts. Melissa assists her clients in coordinating services and resources that can improve their quality of life and facilitates conversations with investment strategists to align investment objectives with the client’s short and long-term needs. Using a holistic approach, Melissa also participates in planning conversations with individuals and families who are concerned about how the needs of their loved ones will be met in the future. In addition, Melissa engages in conversations around pre-settlement planning and the options available to an individual receiving a personal injury award. In order to provide advice and guidance to her clients, Melissa routinely participates in educational seminars which focus on rules, regulations, changes, and best practices in regard to the administration of trusts for individuals with diverse abilities.
Melissa earned her B.A., Magna Cum Laude, from University of South Florida in 1988, J.D., Cum Laude, from the John Marshall Law School in 1991, Chicago, Illinois and her LL.M. in Health Law from DePaul University College of Law in 1994. Melissa was also recently awarded the CFA Institute Investment Foundations™ certificate 2017. Currently, Melissa is a Board Member of the JAFCO Children’s Ability Center and volunteers with several other charities in her community.
Linda Fitzpatrick is recognized as a leading authority on disability sensitivity, helping organizations create solutions for a more productive, inclusive and culturally sensitive workplace. Her latest book, Fundamentals of Disability Inclusion: Unveiling Stereotypes, Unleashing Opportunities, offers practical guidance based on research with a world-class team of business, legal and disability experts. Find more about Linda's programs at www.WorkThatSatisfies.com
AVRAM “AVI” SACKS, is a national expert in Social Security law, who has provided guidance for thousands of professionals in the areas of taxation under FICA and SECA, benefit analysis, and disability benefit advocacy. He is also past editor of the CCH Social Security Law Reporter, the author of two, annually-revised, books on Social Security Law, a desktop manual for professional service providers (including attorneys, accountants, and HR professionals) and a benefits booklet for lay people. As a practicing attorney, Avi has successfully represented clients in many cases before the U.S. District Court of Northern Illinois, and the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Avi has been frequently quoted in the media, most notably the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, and is a frequent speaker for professionals and lay people on benefit claiming strategies that will maximize Social Security retirement benefits.
Ken recently retired from the Social Security Administration after a 37-year career where he worked primarily with Supplemental Security Income and enumeration policy. During his career, he served in increasingly responsible positions where he was responsible for implementation of many pieces of legislation, wrote dozens of regulations and hundreds of POMS transmittals.
Ken received a B.A. with departmental honors in Political Science from the Johns Hopkins University and was awarded the Julius Turner Prize for the most distinguished undergraduate thesis in political science. He received his J.D., magna cum laude, from the University of Baltimore. He served on the staff of the Law Forum and graduated as a member of the Heuisler Honor Society. He is a member of the Maryland Bar. Prior to joining SSA, Ken was Special Assistant to Congressman Clarence D. Long, 2nd District of Maryland.
Ken has been a frequent lecturer on trusts and various aspects of the Supplemental Security Income program. He has served on the faculty of numerous programs for the Continuing Legal Education Department of the Maryland State Bar Association including, the Elder Law Institute, Trusts for Persons with Disabilities, Nursing Home Negligence and Public Benefits, and Hot Topics in Elder Law. He has presented multiple times at the Stetson University National Conference on Special Needs Planning and Special Needs Trusts, The University of Texas School of Law 14th Annual Changes and Trends Affecting Special Needs Trusts and for groups such as the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, the Special Needs Alliance, the Academy of Special Needs Planners, the ABLE National Resource Center, the President’s Commission on Mental Retardation, the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities, the ARC, the National Academy of Social Insurance and the National Association of State Treasurers.
Brian K. Steadman primarily focuses his practice in the areas of tax planning, estate planning, business planning and asset protection. Mr. Steadman has had extensive experience in assisting clients with all areas of tax, estate, and charitable planning, including: Wills, Revocable Living Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Special Needs Trusts, Trust Decanting, Gift Trusts for Children and Grandchildren, Generation-Skipping Trusts, Special Needs Trusts, Qualified Personal Residence Trusts, Grantor Retained Income Trusts, Private and Supporting Foundations, Charitable Remainder Trusts, and Charitable Lead Trusts.
Mr. Steadman has also assisted clients in their business planning needs, including advising clients with respect to Limited Liability Companies, Corporations, Partnerships, Mergers, Acquisitions, Buy-Sell Agreements, and Succession Planning.
Peter V. Berns is a nationally recognized nonprofit sector leader and public interest lawyer. He is the Chief Executive Officer of The Arc, the world’s largest community-based organization of and for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Berns has been at the helm of The Arc since July, 2008. Under his leadership, the organization has charted an ambitious course of progress, innovation and change with the development of a Strategic Framework for the Future of The Arc.
As the leading provider of vital services and support for families and individuals, The Arc promotes and protects the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and actively supports their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes. The Arc works daily on behalf of the more than 7 million people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the United States, including about 1 million individuals and family members who are directly served by state and local chapters across the nation.
Before joining The Arc, Berns was the Executive Director of the Maryland Association of Nonprofit Organizations, a post he held for 16 years. In that capacity, he built the Association from a start-up to a position of prominence in the nonprofit community, nationally, with nearly 2,000 members of all sizes, all sectors and from all regions of the state. In addition, he served as Chief Executive Officer of the Standards for Excellence Institute since its inception in 2004.
Berns came to The Arc with a track record of success in the areas of nonprofit management, governmental relations and advocacy. As a public policy advocate, he was critical to reforming state and federal Medicaid regulations improving life for persons with disabilities and their families. He was named to the Nonprofit Times Power and Influence Top 50 list in 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005, and again in 2015.
His previously held positions include Deputy Chief of Consumer Protection in the Maryland Attorney General’s Office as well as Assistant Attorney General and, earlier in his career, Staff Attorney/Fellow at the Institute for Public Representation at the Georgetown University Law Center.
In May 2011, President Barack Obama appointed Berns to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities, which will provide advice and assistance to President Obama and the Secretary of Health and Human Services on a broad range of topics that impact people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.
Berns received his JD, cum laude, from Harvard Law School and he has an LLM in advocacy from Georgetown University Law Center. He received his BA in psychology, magna cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania.
He and his wife, Melissa Zieve, reside in Baltimore, MD with their four children.
Kari has been involved in nonprofit fundraising and volunteer management for more than 25 years and joined the TS Alliance in June 2001. During Kari's tenure as President and CEO since 2007, the TS Alliance established a comprehensive research program fostering collaboration with industry and academia to move treatments for TSC forward in a more expedited way. The “Unlock the Cure” research strategy focuses on key points along the drug discovery path: TS Alliance Grants Program promoting young investigators; Drug Screening by establishing a Preclinical Consortium; Clinical Research Consortium expediting implementation of future clinical trials and recruiting for clinical studies; biomarkers identification; and the TSC Natural History Database expansion including a Biosample Repository. “Unlock the Cure” also serves as a capital fundraising campaign, raising more than $7.8 million for TSC research since August 2011. Because of her leadership, the organization has taken an active role in educating the TSC community about clinical trials to diminish the time for recruitment. In the past eight years, there have been FDA approvals for two therapies to combat infantile spasms, the most catastrophic form of epilepsy that up to a third of infants with TSC may experience, and two approvals of a drug with a TSC indication, specifically SEGA and AMLs associated with TSC. Kari previously served as Executive Vice President, overseeing the national volunteer outreach program and was responsible for fund development. She developed and implemented a vast national network of more than 30 volunteer branches called Community Alliances; increased volunteer participation from 90 individuals to more than 2,000; and through her involvement in special events and major gift fundraising, helped increase the annual revenue by more than 50 percent. Kari graduated with a BA degree in Theatre from the State University of New York at Albany and upon graduation founded a theatre company with fellow graduates in New York, NY. After the loss of her first child, Noell, to sudden infant death, she dedicated her career to helping other families.
Louise Vetter is the Chief Executive Officer of the Huntington’s Disease Society of America (HDSA), the largest public not-for-profit organization devoted to the fight against Huntington’s disease (HD). Since joining HDSA in 2009, she has led the expansion of the Society’s reach with new programs and initiatives to strengthen the web of support for the HD community, advocate for better access to care for those affected by the disease, improve physician understanding of HD, and support scientific exploration to bring new treatments to HD families.
Earlier in her career, she led national health education and public relations campaigns for Fleishman Hillard International Communications with emphasis on improving the patient-physician dialogue. At the heart of her experience is a firm passion for helping people face health challenges head on, always with dignity, understanding and hope.
Allison Bren Ferris is the National Director of Wells Fargo’s Special Needs Trust Services. Allison received a B.A. from Vassar College and a J.D. from Seattle University School of Law. A licensed attorney, Allison has volunteered for the King County Bar Association’s landlord tenant clinic and has served as board vice president for Neurological Vocational Services (NVS). She is currently a member of the Washington State Bar Association and a member of the distribution review committee for the pooled special needs trust administered by Lifetime Advocacy Plus in WA State. Allison joined the Clothes for Kids Board in 2016 and has a strong interest in serving her community and working to improve the lives of children. She lives in Snohomish County with her family.
Brian Patchett graduated with a BA degree in Political Science and Liberal Arts and Science from Utah State University and earned two graduate degrees from Syracuse University in Public Administration and Rehabilitation Counseling. During the three years spent at Syracuse, Brian also was an instructor for a graduate level Assistive Technology course and a counselor for college students with learning disabilities, where his passion for helping others first developed.
For more than 20 years, Patchett has grown into an advocate for people with disabilities. He spent two summers in Russia promoting the rights of people with disabilities and worked for two and a half years for the Utah Assistive Technology Program, training people to implement the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Patchett began working for Easter Seals in 1996 and has served in a variety of roles before being promoted to President/CEO in 2004. Patchett is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor. He is also the current President of the Southern Nevada Association of Providers (SNAP); a member of Disability Summit, Nevada; a member of the National Rehabilitation Association; a member of NRA-Job Placement and Development; a member of the American Society of Public Administration; and a member of the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities. Patchett and his wife Stacey Vernon Patchett are the proud parents of six children. Patchett works to help people with disabilities have greater access to services and a more independent future.
After 28 years in sports marketing, Joel crossed over into the non-profit sector taking over the Minnesota and Dakota’s Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. After 4 ½ years, Joel joined the National Ataxia Foundation as it National Director of Development. In the fall of 2016 he was appointed Executive Director of NAF when Mike Parent retired. In his year as Executive Director the foundation has seen substantial growth in fundraising, new and energized engagement with donors and volunteers, and the foundations’ communications have seen tremendous advancements.
Anita Porco has served as the Vice President of Affiliate Network for United Cerebral Palsy since 2004, and has been an active volunteer with UCP since 1990. Anita has a long history of community involvement in her adopted home city of Dallas, TX, serving on the boards and committees of many diverse organizations. Prior to joining UCP, Anita was a registered nurse and a successful entrepreneur. For over three decades, Anita has been recognized by numerous organizations for her small business successes.
Time: 8:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Speakers: Kevin Urbatsch and Michele Fuller
The third party special needs trust remains the most effective tool for the special needs planning professional. Often, drafters focus on public benefit’s eligibility and preservation as the trust’s sole purpose. This is only the beginning of the planning process. Nearly every parent of a loved one with special needs is more concerned with their child’s lifetime housing, caregiving, advocacy, and protection from predators. This program will provide a deeper understanding of how the SNT, together with a Memorandum of Intent, provides the protection that families want when they come to a professional to plan for their loved one.
Time: 8:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Speakers: David Lillesand
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is one of the primary financial benefits available to persons with disabilities. SSI is a federal program and run under federal rules. This seminar will provide an overview of SSI’s disability and financial requirements, somewhat unusual income definitions, and other program peculiarities. The professional will come away with a good understanding of the basics of this vitally important program that provides a solid foundation to understand many of the issues that are addressed in the other sessions of the annual program.
Time: 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Speakers: Scott MacDonald, Ann Koerner, Kevin McGrath, and Jerry Hulick
Financial planning for a loved one with special needs is one of the best services a planner can provide. A complete financial plan will address some of the biggest concerns that people have when protecting a loved one with special needs. The special needs financial planner needs to know how public benefits can be used to stretch out the dollars for the person with a disability. This program provides an overview of the information needed to prepare a successful financial plan for a person with disabilities. It discusses how a professional prepares a proper financial plan that considers the lifetime financial care of persons with disabilities, obtains the necessary information, discusses available financial products that can be used, addresses the need for future changes in the plan, and prepares a budget based on the future caregiving, durable medical equipment, housing, therapies, and for other needs.
Time: 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Speakers: Vincent Russo
Time: 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Speakers: Herb Thomas, Susan Katzen, and Melissa Lader Barnhardt
Just minutes from the glamour and action of the Las Vegas Strip and McCarran International Airport, the relaxed, AAA Four Diamond rated Green Valley Ranch Resort, Spa & Casino. This oasis in the desert offers all the excitement of Las Vegas while still pampering guests in luxury and personal service in plush Mediterranean-style furnishings coupled with state-of-the-art technology and a true hotel lobby that is completely separate from the casino.
Plan to spend an extra day pampering yourself in the award-winning, European-Style health spa, or take advantage of their state-of-the-art workout facility. Both are great ways to look and feel your best. The outdoor pool area spans more than three acres, overlooking the Las Vegas Strip. Manicured lawns and trees separate private cabanas and the infinity-edge dipping pools are a perfect place to soak up some sun and enjoy lunch and great music.
The hotel also boasts a full-service casino, world-class entertainment and 8 restaurants onsite. Adjacent to the resort, you’ll find The District, offering sophisticated retail shops and unique restaurants in a pedestrian-friendly outdoor environment. The Resort is also closely linked to three area golf courses and offers daily shuttle service to the Las Vegas Strip.
For more Information go to: greenvalleyranch.sclv.com
10450 S. Eastern Avenue
Henderson, NV 89052
Click here to book hotel reservations
The hotel has a shuttle you can reserve in advance to/from the Green Valley Ranch and airport.
Call (702) 450-1045 or email Rosa.Silva@hilton.com to book your reservation at the group rate of $149+tax.
McCarran International Airport is approximately 15 minutes from the Green Valley Ranch Resort.
Airport/Hotel Shuttle Information
Hotel shuttles are scheduled to depart from the zero level at McCarran Airport daily at 7:30am, 9:30am, 11:30am, 1:30pm, 3:30pm, 5:30pm, 7:30pm and 9:30pm. Seating is limited and available on a first come, first serve basis.
The estimated Uber Fare is $17-22 each way and estimated taxi cab fare is $30 each way.
Saturday April 14, 2018 - 1:00 – 5:00 p.m.
$135 per person includes transportation, bike rental and tour guide for each 5 riders.
Plan to stay an extra night in Vegas and see the true wild side of Las Vegas! Join us for a four-hour off-road bike excursion while we explore some of the most scenic mountain rides in the southwest, including the Red Rock National Conservation Area.
Setup: Anytime after 7:30am on Thursday, April 12 / Before 8:30 am on April 13
Thursday, April 12 – 8:30am – 5:00 p.m. (Optional during Pre-Session Events)
Friday, April 13 – 8:30am – 4:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 14 – 8:30am – 10:30 a.m.
Teardown: Anytime after 10:30am on Saturday, April 14
If you are shipping any materials in advance, you may ship your exhibit materials for arrival at the Green Valley Ranch no earlier than Monday, April 9th. All packages should be labeled as follows:
Green Valley Ranch
ASNP Annual Meeting Exhibitor/April 12-14, 2018
ATT: EXHIBITOR/EXHIBITING CO NAME
2300 Paseo Verde Parkway
Henderson, NV 89052
Box(es) ___ of ___ (multiple boxes should be numbered)
The shipper's return address should include shipper's name, address and telephone number. Please identify heavy boxes (over 50 pounds). We will work with the hotel shipping dept. to try and facilitate package delivery to the exhibit hall. However, if you have specific questions, please contact the package room clerk at for delivery to your specific location. All deliveries are on a first come, first served basis.
All cancellations must be received in writing. A 75% refund or credit toward future conference will be honored if received before March 1st. No refunds will be issued after March 1st.