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In-Person Program

Special Needs Trusts for Persons Under Guardianship or Conservatorship

How judicial and private fiduciaries work together in a post-MUPC world

Thursday, 1/19/2012, 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm
MCLE Conference Center, Ten Winter Place, Boston
4 substantive credits, 0 ethics credits
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Product Description

As professional guardians and conservators, or as counsel to family members in those roles, we recognize that having a Special Needs Trust (SNT) might help the protected person in a variety of ways, from managing the funds professionally to public benefits. But how do we evaluate whether an SNT really is needed? What are the advantages and benefits, as well as the disadvantages and costs, for a guardian or conservator to create and maintain an SNT? If an SNT seems warranted, what trust models and/or types are there, and which type—an individual (d)(4)(A) trust, or a pooled (d)(4)(C) trust— would be best? And how do we go about drafting or creating the trust, choosing a trustee, deciding what kinds of provisions to include, establishing the trust, and structuring the relationship with the court-appointed fiduciaries? Finally, if the protected person's assets are in trust, is a guardian or conservator still needed? How should the existence of the trust be communicated to public benefit agencies? And what happens when the protected person dies? Is the trust part of the conservator's final accounting?

The implementation of the Massachusetts Uniform Probate Code (MUPC) has changed some of the answers to questions like these, even though SNT's and guardianships have been around for a long time. This seminar provides a theoretical framework for understanding the similarities and differences among the duties and powers of guardians, conservators, and trustees. Most of the time is devoted to pragmatic information about whether, when, and how to use an SNT when you are appointed, or are advising, a guardian or conservator.

The panel balances substantive presentations with opportunities to ask questions and offer ideas.

Agenda and written materials

  • Comparison of Duties and Powers of Judicial Fiduciaries vs. Trustees
  • Advantages and Benefits of Establishing a Special Needs Trust
  • Disadvantages and Costs of Establishing and Maintaining a Special Needs Trust
  • Choosing Between an Individual (d)(4)(A) Trust and a Pooled (d)(4)(C) Trust
  • How to Set Up an Individual (d)(4)(A) Trust
  • How to Set Up a Pooled (d)(4)(C) Trust Account
  • How to Get Probate Court Authority to Establish a Special Needs Trust
  • How to Preserve MassHealth and SSI Benefits with a Special Needs Trust
  • Paying a Guardian, Conservator, or Legal Counsel from a Special Needs Trust
  • FORMS: for Special Needs Trusts, Probate Petitions, and Other Matters
  • "Ask the Experts" Q&A Session

Table of Contents


Noreen A. Murphy, Esq., Law Office of Noreen Murphy, Winchester


Charles N. Gallo, Esq., Gallo Law Office, Lynn
Peter M. Macy, Esq., Family Trust of Massachusetts, Inc., Boston



  • $245
  • $225 MCLE Sponsor Members
  • $165 New lawyers admitted to law practice after 2007, pending admittees and law students
In-Person Program
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