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Presents Building Your Special Needs Practice By Michele Fuller, Kevin Urbatsch , and Sharon Pope. 8 th Annual ASNP National Conference March 27, 2014. Afternoon Agenda. Building and Maintaining Your Special Needs Practice Developing an Estate Planning Special Needs Practice

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Building Your Special Needs Practice


Michele Fuller, Kevin Urbatsch, and Sharon Pope

8th Annual ASNP National ConferenceMarch 27, 2014

afternoon agenda
Afternoon Agenda
  • Building and Maintaining Your Special Needs Practice
  • Developing an Estate Planning Special Needs Practice
  • Developing an Ancillary Business
  • Developing a First Party Special Needs/Settlement Planning Practice
goals of the workshop
Goals of the Workshop
  • What are your top three goals for this afternoon’s program
  • 1.
  • 2.
  • 3.
thanks for the assistance
Thanks for the Assistance

Steve Riley

Attorney and Certified Practice Advisor
Atticus, Inc.

(813) 263-8700

what type of practice do you want
What Type of Practice Do You Want?
  • Estate planning/special needs planning practice
    • Third party special needs planning
  • Doing Ancillary Businesses
    • Attorney serving as SNT trustee
    • Running an MSA, QSF, or structured settlement business
    • Representing SNT trustee during administration
  • First party special needs planning
    • Settlement planning
    • Poor inheritance planning
    • Later adult onset disability
    • Transition from child to adult
most likely referral sources
Most Likely Referral Sources
  • Estate Planning Special Needs Planning Practice
    • Families that have children with disabilities
    • Non-profits – (list of all charities by area)
    • Estate planning lawyers
    • Financial planners and banks
    • Tax advisors
  • Settlement Planning Practice
    • Personal injury/medical malpractice lawyers
    • Estate planning lawyers
  • Ancillary Business
tools for building your referral network
Tools For Building Your Referral Network
  • Using ASNP’s E-Newsletter
  • Using ASNP’s Marketing Materials
  • Using ASNP’s Consumer Seminar Power Point
  • Becoming the Expert - Writing Articles, Blogs, and Books
  • Joining Not-for-Profit Boards
  • Using Social Media
  • Other tidbits and options
most effective marketing tools
Most EffectiveMarketing Tools
  • Personal networking/ relationship building
  • Solicit and respond to client feedback
  • Seminars and speeches
  • Marketing through client trade associations (non-profits)
  • Newsletters, brochures, branding, website
  • By-line articles
    • Olmstead & Associates, Legal Management Consultants
tracking referral sources
Tracking Referral Sources
  • Tracking software – (e.g.,
  • Keep track of who sends you business and quality of referrals
    • Start by reviewing your most recent 10 clients, or top 10
    • Who sent them?
    • Does referral source want to stay informed?
    • Did referral become a client?
      • Dollar value
      • Type of case
  • Thank Referral Source – Often forgotten
processing referrals
Processing Referrals
  • Best to set policies up early (before the rush)
  • Create a procedure that will provide the best possible client experience
  • Intake procedure
    • Set up checklists (Checklist Manifesto by AtulGawande)
    • Prepare intake forms to obtain needed information
  • Work flow process
    • Staffing acountability
    • Who will do drafting you or staff person
  • Once the work is done, set up procedure to thank client and then ask for referrals (hopefully they will do this anyway because of the excellent service they received from you and your staff)
networking personal relationships and client referrals
Networking, Personal Relationships, and Client Referrals
  • The number one most effective marketing tool
  • It oftentimes is not what you know, it is who you know
  • Never be afraid to ask for a referral or business
  • A good tip is finding a mentor in your field
  • Positive word of mouth from your clients is the best tool:
    • They can describe how great it was to work with you
    • Parents of children with special needs often support one another so they know each other
using asnp s marketing materials
Using ASNP’s Marketing Materials
  • New Member Brochures
    • 10 Costly Mistakes to Avoid When Planning for a Loved One with Special Needs
    • Planning for a Loved One with Special Needs
  • New Guidelines to Draft a Memorandum of Intent
  • Other Planned Brochures
    • Your Loved One with Special Needs Turns 18, Now What?
    • Housing Your Loved One with Special Needs
    • Others (?) Let us know.
seo and paid website ads
SEO and Paid Website Ads
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
    • Yodel – pay per click
  • Paid website referrals
    • Yelp – one attorney pays about $850/month but is listed first in every search involving estate planning in his city
    • Avvo
    • Superlawyers
    • MarindaleHubbel
    • Nolo
    • Hot Frog
writing blogs articles and books
Writing Blogs, Articles, and Books
  • Become the Recognized “Expert” in an Area of Law
  • NAELA Journal
  • NAELA News
  • Non-profits (ARC, NAMI, Centers for Independent Living…)
  • State Bar/Elder Law Associations
  • Local Bar Associations
join associations list serve
Join Associations/List Serve
  • Join trial lawyer, estate planning, family law associations
  • Join list serves
    • Respond to questions on special needs and settlement planning on list serves
    • Not only answers the one question but advertises your knowledge to the lurkers
    • Big commitment in time to monitor list serves
social media
Social Media
  • Complete your LinkedIn profile, add contacts to referral data base and ask if they want to receive your newsletter
  • Manage your on-line reputation review Yelp, Google
  • Claim your AVVO profile, move it up to a 10 rating
putting on consumer seminars
Putting on Consumer Seminars
  • ASNP Power Points – Customizable For Your State
    • Planning for a Loved One With Special Needs
      • 1-hour seminar
      • 3-hour seminar
      • Will need projector, screen, and computer
  • Advertising
    • Monthly E-Newsletter
    • Local newspaper
    • Non-profits
    • Local bar associations
    • Exhibit/sponsor
your first time some hints
Your First Time – Some Hints
  • You will know more than your audience
  • Make it educational/not overt marketing – e.g., “Planning for a Loved One with Special Needs” “Public Benefit Basics”
  • Keep a loose structure that allows for lots of questions
    • You are selling not only your knowledge but yourself
    • Don’t answer a question you do not know for sure, there is nothing wrong with saying, “I do not know that off the top of my head, let me look that up and get back to you”
  • Be prepared to discuss your fees
  • Do bring a sign-up sheets to obtain more information or to sign up clients on the spot (should have assistant with you)
dinner and a seminar
Dinner and a Seminar?
  • Some practitioners have had great success with these programs
  • Downside
    • Expensive
    • People more interested in food than program
  • Upside
    • Usually well attended
    • Reduces time during intakes due to education provided at seminar
    • People know your fees, hard referral
seminars after the party
Seminars – After the Party
  • Follow through, follow through, follow through
  • If you or your staff does not make immediate calls within day or two of seminar, you lose prospects
putting on seminars for professionals
Putting on Seminars for Professionals
  • Goal is to become your area’s go-to special needs person
  • Professional Organizations Need Presenters
    • National – ASNP, NAELA, Eldercounsel, ABA, AAJ
    • State – Bar Association, Trial Lawyer Association, Non-profits, State NAELA programs
    • Local – Local Bars, Estate Planning Councils, local non-profits, Lunch and Learn, Places of Worship
  • Usually low-cost, someone else puts on the program
special needs practice
Special Needs Practice
  • What makes this practice unique?
    • Public benefits
    • Person with a disability
      • Dealing with the family and person and their unique challenges
      • Understand the diagnosis and prognosis of a person’s disability
      • Ability to assist with referrals for assistance – e.g., not-for-profits, therapies, support services
      • Educating successor caregivers, advocates, and financial managers
attorney serving as snt trustee by sharon l pope

Attorney Serving as SNT TrusteeBySharon L. Pope

15 Massirio Drive, Berlin ∞ 151 New Park Avenue, Hartford237 Hopmeadow Street, Simsbury ∞ 281 Hartford Tpke, Vernon(860) 236-7673

advantages for the beneficiary
Advantages For The Beneficiary
  • You know special needs planning, public benefits, and distribution rules.
  • You are a neutral party; family members do not have to stand between the money and another family member.
  • You have resources available to you that most family members and financial institutions lack, e.g. variety of investment options, access to home improvement contractors and the like.
advantages for your practice
Advantages For Your Practice
  • Keeps you up to date on special needs planning; you must stay current with the law.
  • Gives you a consistent source of revenue.
  • Expands the scope of your practice; it’s not

just an advising practice any more.

  • Creates stronger connections with financial and investment advisors who may refer additional clients to your practice.
any disadvantages
Any Disadvantages?
  • The annoyed beneficiary: often

not very happy to have someone

else managing his or her money.

Just give me all of the money-

  • You are not practicing law; you are a
  • trustee and cannot charge attorney fees
  • for your trustee work.
developing an attorney referral network
Developing an Attorney Referral Network
  • Number one referral source are often attorneys
    • Estate planning/probate attorneys
    • Elder law attorneys
    • Family law attorneys
    • Personal injury attorneys/medical malpractice attorneys
developing a professional referral network
Developing a Professional Referral Network
  • Who should be on the team?
    • Financial advisors
    • Tax advisors
    • Public benefit advisors
    • Care managers
    • Professional trustees
    • Non profit service providers (ARC, Public Guardians…..)
  • Collaboration is the key
  • Cross referrals
  • Joint marketing efforts
  • Builds third party credibility
building a settlement planning practice
Building a Settlement Planning Practice
  • Settlement Planning consists of some or all of the following:
    • Special Needs Planning Funded by Litigation Proceeds
    • Qualified Settlement Fund (QSF)
      • Setting up trust to hold funds to allow time to plan
    • Medicare Set Aside for Medicare
      • Dealing with Medicare’s future interest
    • Financial Planning
      • Comprehensive financial plan and possible structured settlement
    • Tax Planning
      • Plan to minimize income and estate taxes
    • Lien and Repayment Resolution
      • Medicare, Medicaid, hospital, doctor etc.
join asnp s settlement planning committee
Join ASNP’s Settlement Planning Committee
  • ASNP Settlement Planning Committee
  • Kevin Urbatsch, Chair
  • Michele Fuller, Michigan
  • Jason Lazarus, Florida
  • Josh Brothers, Washington
  • Vince Casiano, California
  • Donna Meyer, Oregon
  • Meeting in this room from 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. after the seminar
working with personal injury medical malpractice attorney
Working with Personal Injury/Medical Malpractice Attorney
  • MOST IMPORTANT - Do not be the reason payment for the settlement is being delayed
  • Be responsive, call or write back immediately
  • Acknowledge the trial attorney’s accomplishment
  • Recognize the trial attorney’s emotional involvement in helping the client
  • Be willing to meet the plaintiff in the trial attorney’s office
  • Be open to SNT alternatives
  • Prepare the trust immediately
  • Offer to appear at any hearings where the SNT may come up
ancillary business qsf
Ancillary Business - QSF
  • Qualified Settlement Fund (QSF)- IRC § 468B
    • Used for settlements of lawsuit
  • Business opportunities:
      • Requires a court order
      • Usually is part of a trust document that you can draft
      • Attorney can serve as Administrator
ancillary business medicare set aside msa
Ancillary Business: Medicare Set Aside (MSA)
    • Congress enacted the Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) Statute giving Medicare rights as “Secondary Payer”
    • The Medicare Set-Aside Arrangement (MSA) is the preferred method for handling Medicare’s future medical costs
  • Business Opportunities
    • Establishing MSAs
    • Administering MSA’s
epic fails and modest reversals
Epic Fails and Modest Reversals
  • It’s not always pretty - be willing to fail and then move on
  • Watch the bottom line (cost/benefit)
    • TGIT (Thank God It’s Thursday)
    • Dinner with Michele
    • Paid Ads
    • Book publishing
  • Adopting staff when they should be let go
  • Be cautious with whom you do business
next steps
Next Steps!!!!
  • What are three things you can implement now?
  • Create time in your weekly schedule to think of your practice as a business
  • Write down business/marketing/revenue goals:
    • 90 days
    • Yearly
    • Five years
michele s marketing tips
Michele’s Marketing Tips
  • Need More Ideas?
  • In your materials are a list of very exciting and easily implemented marketing tips you can use in your practice
recommended reading
Recommended Reading
  • Checklist Manifesto, by AtulGawande
  • Hug Your Customer, by Jack Mitchell
  • The Busy Lawyer’s Guide to the Laws of Practice Growth, by Steven Riley
  • Lean In: Women, Work and Will to Lead, by Sheryl Sandberg
  • Power of Habit, by Charles Duhigg
  • Spirit of Kaizen, by Robert Maurer
  • Hire Slow, Fire Fast, by Mark Powers and Shawn McNalis
  • Happiness Advantage, by Shawn Achor