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BILLS OF INTEREST TO ELDER LAW ATTORNEYS DURING CONGRESSIONAL LAME-DUCK SESSION

Although nothing of particular significance is expected during the present Congressional lame-duck session other than passing a short-term bill to fund the government, there are two bills that elder law attorneys are hoping for passage to help the needs of their clients.

One bill that possibly could pass is the Disabled Military Child Protection Act which permits military survivor benefit plans to name a special needs trust as a beneficiary which was included in the Senate version of the National Defense Authorization Act, but it was not included in the House version. Congress routinely (every year for the past 53 years) passes the National Defense Authorization Act – and you would think this year would be no exception. However, which version of the bill passes remains to be seen.

The other bill being watched is the Special Needs Fairness Act which allows individuals to create their own special needs trusts. Presently an individual can fund their own special needs trust (a trust that is not a countable resource for Medicaid eligibility, but there are restrictions on how the funds can be used), but it must be established by a parent, grandparent, court or guardian.

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