Health care reform (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act), enacted on March 23, 2010, has re-defined the structured settlement and personal injury settlement consulting marketplace: whether current participants realize it - or (more probably) do not.
Among the strategic consequences of health care reform:
- An estimated 16 million more Medicaid participants - and therefore:
- More special needs trusts;
- More special needs attorneys;
- More structured settlement annuities payable to trustees.
Without focusing specifically on health care reform (not then enacted), the ASNP 2010 Annual Meeting included valuable presentations and handout resources indirectly related to health care reform, structured settlements and settlement planning/consulting.
Among those valuable presentations was Evan J. Krame's analysis titled "Not Very Special Trusts: Fixing Trusts to be Special and Using Pooled Trusts". As part of his ASNP trust analysis, Krame introduced a document he wrote titled "25 Questions to Evaluate Pooled Trusts".
In addition to his legal practice and teaching activities, Krame serves as President of Shared Horizons, Inc. Shared Horizons is trustee of the Wesley Vinner Memorial Trust (a pooled trust) serving people with disabilities in the District of Columbia and Maryland.
Krame has granted permission for S2KM to re-publish his list of 25 Questions here in S2KM blog format.
- Check the Trust Agreement and Joinder Agreement? What do the documents say? For example, what powers does the trustee have?
- Is the trust approved and monitored by any state agencies?
- Who/what is really serving as the trustee? Is it the non-profit organization that created the trust or is it a third party hired to administer the trust?
Is this Trust Right for You?
- What are the costs of participation? Is there an initiation fee, an annual fee or a termination fee?
- How are the disbursements approved? What is the ease and method of disbursements? Who signs disbursement checks?
- What is the availability of advocacy on behalf of the beneficiary?
- How do they manage public benefit issues?
- How do they monitor the beneficiaries?
- Will the trust own illiquid or uncommon assets such as cars or homes?
- What is the reputation of the non-profit and/or trust management organizations?
- What is the organizational structure? Check on staff, space and activities.
- Who are the officers of the non-profit? What are their skills and background?
- What is the function of the board of the non-profit trustee?
- How long has the trust been in existence? Is there any reason to believe it could fail? How appropriately is the pooled trust compensated?
- How are the trust assets invested? Is there an investment policy in force that is followed? Is there an independent investment adviser? Is there an investment review committee? Is there an allocation model?
- How do they maintain separate shares? Do they uphold the duty to segregate?
- Is there liability and casualty insurance in place?
- How do they meet their duty to inform? Are statements provided to beneficiaries and state agencies (as required)?
- How do they meet their duty to account?
- How do they maintain their records? Are they precise, complete and accurate?
- How do they meet their duty of confidentiality?
- Do they have and/or employ legal counsel?
- Are there termination procedures in place?
- What is the policy as to funds at the death of a beneficiary?
- How do they handle income tax reporting?
Additional S2KM resources about settlement trusts: