529 ABLE Accounts: The Special Needs Planning Tool that Financial Advisors Overlook.

September 7, 2018

Financial Advisor Kathleen Oberneder tells ThinkAdvisor why these accounts go underused and how she plans for her own daughter with Down syndrome.

The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014, which allows people with severe disabilities to maintain savings accounts of more than $2,000 without losing public benefits, is arguably the most significant legislation for the disabled in a generation. Further, President Donald Trump’s 2017 tax overhaul expanded the program. So why haven’t more financial advisors embraced this opportunity to help families set up tax-advantaged 529 ABLE accounts? Only 20,653 of the state-sponsored plans, with $98.6 million in assets, have been established as of March, according to the consultants Strategic Insight. But some Financial Advisors could hardly wait.

As soon as the 529 ABLE was introduced, Kathleen Oberneder, special needs advisor with Crescendo Wealth Management, in Wisconsin, began helping her adult clients with disabilities and parents of special needs children create these accounts. In an interview with ThinkAdvisor, the ABLE Act expert explains the accounts’ strengths and drawbacks and why she advocates for them in speaking engagements. Oberneder, 43, has focused on special needs planning since the birth of a daughter with Down syndrome seven years ago and is the founder of a Special Needs Advisory Board in the county where she practices.

Check out the article to learn more about a new option for Advisor Sold ABLE Accounts, and stay tuned to the ABLE National Resource Center as we will be highlighting the ABLE America Advisor sold program on our November ABLE Program Spotlight webinar.

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