Supporting Families

Harbor Island 3

Special Needs Trusts, ABLE Accounts, and Future Planning: Tools in the Caregiver's Toolbox

Friday, November 3
10:45 AM - 11:45 AM
Location: Harbor Island 3

Target Audience: Family Members

An important message for all families who are caregivers of someone with a disability, no matter what your financial situation is, is that it is important to create a future plan for your loved one to avert a crisis. Many people hear the word "trust" and think that you have to have a lot of money to create one. From our inception, our organization was dedicated to making planning services and special needs trusts available to all families, including those with modest means. These special needs trusts enable a person with a disability to protect assets that are in their name, while continuing to be eligible for vital government benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medical Assistance (MA). With the creation of the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act in 2014, individuals and families now have another option for future planning. In our presentation we will review special needs trusts, ABLE accounts, government benefits, and future planning, including guardianship and power of attorney. The session is geared toward individuals and families, however providers and advocates will also benefit so they can educate those they serve. We will share our experience in developing a Future Planning Project that has been in place for three years and discuss lessons learned and the need for education of families. Participants will leave with ideas and areas of discussion when they return home to loved ones.

Learning Objectives:

Michelle Sipple

Vice President
ACHIEVA Family Trust
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Michelle Sipple is the Vice President of the ACHIEVA Family Trust. Michelle served on The Family Trusts' Social Service Committee since 2009 prior to taking on her current role in June of 2015.
Michelle spent 16 years at FamilyLinks in Allegheny County, PA as the Service Coordination Unit Director. In this role Michelle directed several departments, including the Supports Coordination Division serving over 3000 individuals throughout Pennsylvania. Michelle has spent her career in the social service field and has extensive experience working with individuals diagnosed with I/DD and mental health, as well as the aging population.


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Patty Yerina

Education and Outreach Coordinator
ACHIEVA Family Trust
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Patty Yerina is the Coordinator of Education and Outreach at ACHIEVA Family Trust. Prior to joining the Trust 18 months ago, Patty worked for ACHIEVA Vocational Supports in a sales and marketing position for five years. Patty is an experienced presenter on future planning and facilitates a monthly newsletter and speaker series on disability-related topics.


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Special Needs Trusts, ABLE Accounts, and Future Planning: Tools in the Caregiver's Toolbox


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