Training & Webinars

Training Systems

Chapter 1: Marcia’s Story
(18 min.)
Chapter 2: The Client Connection
(23 min.)
Chapter 3: Financial Planning for Families with Special Needs
(18 min.)
Chapter 4: Government Benefits for Special Needs
(36 min.)
Chapter 5: The Special Needs Estate Plan
(36 min.)
Chapter 6: Family Communication
(24 min.)
Chapter 7: Conclusion: Your Story
(10 min.)

Chapter 8: Techniques to Expand Your Special Needs Practice (65 min.)



Professional Members Continuing Education

  • Putting Prospects In Your Chairs (57 min) As you have learned in the Education Series, the most important qualities of a trusted advisor for families with special needs is authenticity, the ability to demonstrate an understanding of the family’s needs, and an understanding of the complex issues that a family with special needs must face in order to plan for the future of their loved one. But how can these skills translate into marketing opportunities and business growth? Discover how you can capitalize on your Protected Tomorrows Professional Membership, the skills you have acquired through the training, and the connection to expert resources in the niche market of special needs.


Practice Management
  • A Family’s Perspective on Government Benefits (60 min) Note: Eligible for 1.0 Hr CFP CE Credits – Click here for Certificate of Completion (pdf) Government benefits for individuals with special needs are a crucial consideration when planning for their future. However, discussion of eligibility for government benefits can evoke varying emotions for families with special needs. Emotions range from apprehension and frustration while facing the application process, to relief and satisfaction when an approval is achieved. Mary Anne Ehlert shares some of her experiences with families who have been through the application process and are now receiving the government benefits they need and/or are entitled to.Topics Discussed:
    • Example of what SSI covers for a person with a disability. And how important it is to their cash flow needs.
    • Example of what Medicaid covers for a person with a disability, and how it can coordinate with their health insurance. The coordination of group and individual health insurance with Medicaid provides critical coverage
    • The importance of Medicaid beyond medical coverage, and how it provides access to programs that are critical to future funding of a person with special needs
    • Food Stamps and how they help a person with special needs
    • Example of how a person with special needs has been negatively impacted by accounts set up improperly in their name, and the financial and emotional impact to the family.
    • How a high net worth family feels that Medicaid has a negative connotation, but later learns how critical it is to their family member.


  • How to Interpret What Your Special Needs Client is Really Asking (60 min) If your client asks, “What are the asset limitations for a person collecting social security?” How would you respond? Of course you would give him or her the technical answer to the question. But a client with a family member with special needs asking this question is probably looking for the answer to a much bigger question – “How do I plan for the future of my loved one while still keeping within the asset limitations?” And, your client would truly benefit from knowing the whole story. Learn how to determine if a seemingly simple question is an opening for you to deepen your relationship and learn more about what your client really wants to know.


  • Understanding the Emotions of a Special Needs Caregiver (60 min) As you begin to explore the possibility that your client may be a primary caregiver of a family member with special needs, it is important to understand the emotions they are experiencing in order to authentically connect with them. This can be a difficult task, especially if you do not have any personal experience to draw from. Knowing more about the person with a disability is critical in this step of engaging with your client. If your client is caring for a spouse who has been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease or a similar cognitive or neurological disorder, it is likely your client, the caregiver, is worried about how this new diagnosis has changed their vision of the future. These emotions are very different than a client who is caring for a child who has autism, Down Syndrome, or other developmental disability. In this situation your client is worried about what will happen to their child when the parents are gone.


  • Getting Comfortable Talking with Clients with Family Members with Special Needs (55 min) Never take for granted what you think you know, or hear. By listening you show your clients that you really care about them and are there to help with the issues that are impacting their lives. Let them share their “story” to get to the heart of the matter and realize that disabilities are not all the same. Each person, including a person with a special need, is an individual and wants to know what will happen in the future. We also provide an update on the current status of the ABLE Act.


  • Listening Carefully: How to Discover If a Special Need Might Exist (50 min) Never take for granted what you think you know, or hear. Listening is the key to making sure you know the little things that people may not want to share initially. By listening you show your clients that you really care about them and are there to help with the issues that are impacting their lives. Once we stop talking and start listening, our original expectations and things we have taken for granted will leave and only show what we truly need to hear to help our clients.


  • The ABLE Act: EnABLE Savings for Life (62 min) Karen Milligan, Special Olympics Illinois, Mary Anne Ehlert, Special Olympics Illinois, President and Founder of Protected Tomorrows, Inc., Brian Rubin and Benjamin Rubin of Rubin Law, and Chasse Rehwinkel of the Illinois State Treasurer’s Office present a sixty minute webinar on the ABLE Act, which amends Section 529 of the IRS Code and allows tax-free savings and investment accounts for individuals with disabilities.


  • Annuities & Special Needs Trusts (50 min) Note: Eligible for 1.0 Hr CFP CE Credits – Click Here for Certificate of CompletionWhen might it be appropriate to use annuities with a special needs trust? Before this question can be answered, it is important to understand that taxation of special needs trusts. Mary Anne Ehlert will review trust taxation and consider when it may be appropriate to use annuities as a funding vehicle.


  • Fixing Planning Errors and Repairing the Relationship with Your Client
    (64 min) While all professionals have the very best intentions of serving their clients with the highest level of professionalism and expertise, mistakes can, and will, happen. When a planning mistake for a family with special needs becomes evident, how can you fix the problem — with minimal impact on your client — AND repair your relationship with your client? Mary Anne Ehlert will point out some of the most common planning mistakes that we have seen, how the problems were corrected, and how client relationships were repaired — and even became stronger.


  • Legislative Update: Advancing Economic Self-Sufficiency for a Person with a Disability
    (50 min)
    There are several pieces of legislation that have or could significantly impact people with disabilities by providing the opportunity to be more independent than ever before. Although the composition of Congress will be changing based on the results of the next election, our hope is that the pending legislation related to people with disabilities will continue to make progress and soon become law. Learn about the bills that have been or are currently on the floor of Congress, the history of each bill, the proposed outcomes and the state of the situation — pre-election. Add value to your clients with special needs by being fully informed about the impact these bills may have on their loved ones with disabilities.Topics covered:

    1. ADA
    2. Savings For Working Families Act (SWFA)
    3. SSI Savers Act
    4. ABLE Act Then and Now


  • Taxation of Special Needs Trusts (40 min)
    Note: Eligible for 1.0 Hr CFP CE Credits – Click here for Certificate of Completion
    Taxation of Special Needs Trusts Worksheets (pdf)There are several different types of Special Needs Trusts. The purpose and usage of each type of trust is complex. Even more confusing is the way that they are taxed. You can get different answers from CPA’s, from Social Security and even the IRS. This webinar will review each trust and how taxation is handled so that you can effectively advise your clients and communicate clearly with colleagues that also serve them.