Resolutions are common for the new year and in this edition we offer you a few resolutions to add to your list. Read The 10 Commandments of Resolving a Catastrophic Injury Case.


During the holidays many of us thought about our families and how we can better meet their needs. Consider the same for your clients and their families by better understanding the pitfalls of over-structuring a settlement. As in life - it's all about balance.


Thank you for your referrals. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with you and your clients to co-create solutions that may create peace of mind.


We are your one stop shop for cutting edge elder law services. 

Warmest regards,
Stephanie L. Schneider, CELA  
Stephanie L. Schneider, PA

In This Issue: Beware the Pitfalls of Over-Structuring a Settlement - Read More...
Beware The Pitfalls of Over-Structuring a Settlement
The Ten Commandments of Resolving a Catastrophic Injury Case
News, Events, Programs

Stephanie L. Schneider, PA Newsletter
Elder Law News Lawyers Can Use
January 2012

Beware The Pitfalls of Over-Structuring a Settlement


Plaintiff's receiving a settlement want to have it safely and conservatively invested.  As attorneys, we share their concern about dissipation of the settlement perhaps for different reasons.   To safeguard the client (sometimes from their own fiscal irresponsibility) structured settlements are an option.  The use of a structured settlement can be a double-edge sword as explained below.
The Tale:
A case was settled for a woman in her mid-thirties injured as a result of a medical malpractice.  Due to the injuries and associated complications the plaintiff has to live permanently in a skilled nursing facility.  The young woman's care is paid for by Medicaid.  The plaintiff is married and has a young child. The spouse is the court appointed guardian for the plaintiff.
When the hospital settled, it was agreed that the full amount of the net proceeds, approximately $850,000.00, would fund a structured settlement.  In order to preserve the young woman's eligibility for government benefits a special needs trust is being prepared.  The structure will pay directly into the special needs trust.
We arranged for the guardian to interview three potential corporate co-trustees each with significant experience administering special needs trusts.  Two of the three candidates declined serving as a co-trustee solely because there was no cash funding the special needs trust. The concerns of the corporate trustees were:
1.Investing: The corporate trustee will be unable to invest until there is adequate cash built up from the monthly structure payments.  This could limit the future growth of the special needs trust and its ability to fulfill the needs of the injured woman.
2. Availability: Depending on the needs of the injured woman, there may not be sufficient cash to purchase necessary services and products right away.  Such a delay may frustrate the spouse and family and will not contribute to improving the qualify of life for the injured woman.
3. Administrative Expense: A trustee of a special needs trust still has the same responsibilities and liabilities regardless of the assets of a special needs trust.  The administrative expense for a corporate trustee will not be reduced simply because there is little or no cash.
The Tip:
Before agreeing to the form of the settlement, consult with an elder law attorney and a care manager to determine an expenditure plan for the first year.  The expenditure plan will help you determine the minimum amount of cash to fund the special needs trust.  Cash, structured settlements and special needs trusts can co-exist and compliment each other with the right balance.
 "Proper Planning May Create Peace of Mind"
We are your and your clients' partner in the aging process.  Let us help you and your clients navigate the elder law maze!

The Ten Commandments of Resolving a Catastrophic Injury Case


1. Thou shalt recommend to your client to consult with a board certified elder law attorney before mediation.


2. Thou shalt take steps to preserve the client's government benefits with a special needs trust.


3. Thou shalt  have a guardian appointed timely.


4.  Thou shalt notify the Medicaid collection agency of the settlement and satisfy the casualty lien.


5.  Thou shalt recommend a combination of cash and a structured settlement to fund a special needs trust.


6.  Thou shalt determine whether a Medicare set-aside arrangement is necessary based on the client's age and whether they are or eligible to receive SSDI perhaps with the guidance of a qualified elder law attorney.


7.  Thou shalt consider the merits of a corporate trustee with experience administering special needs trusts.


8.   Thou shalt remember the needs of the plaintiff's spouse and suggest that he/she create a plan for their estate and to avoid guardianship.


9.  Thou shalt consider the merits of a care manager to coordinate the multitude of care issues, providers of services, and negotiate the cost of those services.


10. Thou shalt determine whether a recipient of derivative proceeds requires planning either because he/she is a minor or, receives government benefits.


Leap Day, Wednesday February 29th

Hop Over to Our Place for an Open House
Refreshments, Raffles to
 Benefit Community Organizations

Support Impact Broward (formerly Senior Volunteers Services) & Dreammakers ( for terminally & seriously children.
RSVP by February 17th

or email:

Call us to host Advanced Level CLEs
  "Preserving the Personal Injury Settlement for the Aged and Disabled Client"
"Medicare Set Arrangements - they're not just for Worker's Compensation Cases anymore"
at your office.
Earn 1 CLE credits or 1 Trial Law certification credits and .25 ethics credit for each program. 
Phone:  954-382-1997 or Click "Schedule a Presentation" on our website at 
Representative Special Needs Trusts, Asset Protection Planning and Guardianship Clients
Guardianship & Trust Professionals
Michael Carris, VP, Senior Trust Advisor
Regions Morgan Keegan Trust
Ft. Lauderdale


Barry Givner, Sr. V.P, Wealth Mgt. Specialist
Coconut Grove Bank
2701 S. Bayshore Dr.
Jean Smith, V. P.  Trust Advisor
Denise Lettau, V.P. Trust Advisor
Sun Trust Bank, N.A.
Fort Lauderdale



Earl Denney; Bill King; Jack Hill
Searcy Denney, et al
West Palm Beach


Ervin Gonzalez; Patrick Montoya
Colson, Hicks, Eidson
Coral Gables


Nancy LaVista
Clark Fountain La Vista Prather Keen & Kittky-Rubi
West Palm Beach

Gloretta Hall; Linnes Finney
Gary, Williams, et al


Leesfield & Parners
Mitchell Panter
Panter, Panter & Sampedro


Daniel Larson
Vaka Larson Johnson


Lon Worth Crow


Don Hinkle
Hinkle & Foran
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Thank you.
  Estate & Incapacity

♦ Probate & Trust   


♦ Last Will & Testament

♦ Revocable Trust

♦ Durable Power of Attorney

♦ Designation of Healthcare 

♦ Quit Claim Deed

♦ Living Will

  Advocacy Services
♦ Guardianships (adults &
  minors)/Guadian Advocacy

♦ Long Term Care Facility
   Residents' Rights

♦ Medicaid Applications &

♦ Veterans Benfits Planning

Government Assistance


♦ Special Needs Trusts

♦ Representation of Trustees

♦ Protecting Lawsuit
  Proceeds & Inheritances
  while Preserving Medicaid &
  SSI Eligibilty

♦ Exceptions to Medicaid
   Lien Recovery


♦ Reduction of Third
   Party Medicaid Liens
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Stephanie Schneider, CELA
Stephanie L. Schneider has been selected as a
Top Lawyer in Elder Law in the 2011
 South Florida Legal Guide
and Florida SuperLawyers 2011
 Stephanie is accredited by the Veterans Administration
to counsel clients about veterans benefits planning.

 Seminars & Events

January 19, 2012

Suntrust Roundtable
Fort Lauderdale

Families with Special Needs

January 31, 2012

Uncover the Secret of Veterans Aid & Attendance Benefits breakfast seminar for funeral directors and pre-need planners at our office

February 22, 2012

Memorial Regional Hospital


Breakfast Symposium:
Cultural & Social Diversity

CEUs Availalbe

Visit or call Hillary Josephs at our office for more information or  to schedule Stephanie to speak at your office or organization.