Newsletter Spring 2020
Wispact Newsletter Spring 2020
Beneficiaries and Advisors – With this issue of the Newsletter we are switching to an email format. We are doing this to avoid putting undue burdens on the community to print/mail the newsletter. The newsletter has important information about your trust and we are still using mail to deliver critical account information. If you would like someone to receive this (beneficiary or advisor), please reply to James Giese, Director of Communications, email@example.com or call 608-268-6006 ext 209. To unsubscribe, click on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email or reply to this message with your unsubscribe request.
Wispact’s Physical Office Location at 226 Corporate Dr is closed – But we are working remotely and processing distributions – if possible submit documents via email.
We realize how important our distributions are to you and Wispact is open but working remotely Please be aware we can process distributions submitted via email and fax much more efficiently than those submitted via mail.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Dept. of Health and Human Services across the U.S. are working on a public health response to COVID 19. Based on guidelines set forth by the CDC in regards to the Coronavirus, Wispact is committed to strategies and practices to help decrease the possible spread of infective diseases and maintain a safe workplace for its employees and clients.
- Help educate employees and encourage the sharing of information
- Do our part to help slow the spread
- Maintain normal business operations while working to lower the impact of COVID-19 in the workplace and community.
Wispact’s plan for employees affects how we interact with our clients and community. We aim to maintain normal business operations, but we want our clients to know the following:
Drop In Clients:
To limit potential exposure, during this time – Wispact physical office is closed – Please contact us by phone or email with questions.
Encourage clients to fax or scan and email as many shared documents as possible. Wash hands frequently when handling physical documents received by mail.
Recognizing that Wispact serves some very medically vulnerable individuals, utmost discretion is advised in meeting with clients face to face during this “high alert” period of COVID-19. If you have a scheduled meeting with a client/prospective client, especially individuals meeting the criteria for most “at-risk” including individuals over the age of 60 and those with underlying health conditions (notably, Heart disease, Diabetes and Lung disease), please talk with your supervisor to either hold the meeting via phone/video conferencing or postpone the meeting as appropriate.
Please submit documents electronically. Call our legal staff for instructions.
- Stay abreast of the latest developments from the CDC/Health and Family Services
- Keep staff, business partners, and clients informed of our plans
- Maintain normal business operations while working remotely, and continue to review our staff sick leave policy during this time for flexibility
For questions, please see our staff contacts.
Are you aware that Wispact offers charitable grants to beneficiaries through our Retained Fund Grants program? The goal for the Wispact Grants Fund is to improve the quality of life for people living with a disability.
The Board has targeted a number of areas for consideration, and during this pandemic, the Retained Fund Grants can be especially helpful. We are targeting any needs related to the pandemic- such as advocacy fees if you are facing loss of housing; assistance with food supplies; assistive devices/communication devices that allow you to stay connected to emergency services and the community; funeral and burial services; transportation; and other costs of living expenses.
To be eligible for a Wispact Grants Fund, you must be a current Wispact Trust Beneficiary. The award is based on several criteria including the amount of funds in the Beneficiary’s account and the degree of need.
For more information on the Wispact Grants Fund, please contact your Beneficiary Specialist or you may also contact: John Shaw, Retained Fund Grant Coordinator, Phone: 608-268-6006 Ext.204; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
An Explanation of the New Quarterly Statements
(Editor’s note below is a copy of the new quarterly statements from True Link and Capital First)
As a financial services company founded to serve people with disabilities, True Link is excited to partner with Wispact and Capital First Trust Company in serving Wispact’s special needs trust beneficiaries. Since our partnership commenced on January 1 this year, we have dedicated ourselves to providing Wispact beneficiaries with a smooth transition and unparalleled support.
One of our greatest priorities is making your trust account as accessible as possible, which includes transparent reporting. To facilitate your understanding of the quarterly statements you’ll receive going forward, we’ll go over some key elements. A more detailed explanation of these statements can be found here.
Before diving into what you’ll find in your quarterly statements, we wanted to quickly review the structure of this pooled trust. The funds for the benefit of each beneficiary are accounted for in a separate sub-account. All of the sub-accounts within the trust are part of a “pooled” account where funds from all beneficiaries of the trust are invested together. Each sub-account owns units (or shares) of the pooled trust portfolio; beneficiaries purchase units when they deposit funds and sell units when they disburse funds.
A quarterly statement is published every three months and represents information about the trust sub-account over that three month period (also known as the “statement period”). Your quarterly statement provides a summary of the performance and activity of your sub-account throughout the preceding quarter, in addition to highlighting some features of the trust portfolio overall.
The two main sections you’ll see on each statement are “Sub-Account Summary” and “Activity.”
The Summary is a snapshot of your sub-account as of the last day of the quarter. The Summary sets forth: 1) Current units: The number of units (shares) of the portfolio that belong to the sub-account, 2) Unit value: The value of each unit in the portfolio, and 3) Market value: The total value of the sub-account in US dollars.
The pie chart in the Sub-Account Summary illustrates the percentage of the pooled trust portfolio that is invested in equities (e.g., stocks), fixed income (e.g., bonds), and cash (or cash equivalents like money market accounts) as of the last day of the statement period. Because of market movements, rebalancing trends, and other factors, the composition of the portfolio might have changed slightly since that date.
As you will see from the pie chart, you are invested in a well-diversified portfolio of stocks and bonds. This portfolio is also diversified across industries and geographic regions. This level of diversification helps reduce the impact that sharp declines in specific segments of the markets will have on your overall account.
The Sub-Account Summary is further broken down into “Transactions & Income” and “Change in Value of Investments.” Transactions & Income shows the sum of deposits, dividends, and interest minus the sum of processed disbursements and fees during the quarter. The Change in Value of Investments is the market value change in the sub-account based on the market value change of the portfolio’s investments during the quarter. In other words, it’s how much the value of the investments in the sub-account has increased or decreased over the quarter.
The overall value of the portfolio’s investments determines the unit value; multiplying the unit value by the number of units in the sub-account determines the market value of the sub-account. Fluctuations in the financial markets can impact the overall value of the trust portfolio and, consequently, the overall value of your sub-account.
To facilitate recordkeeping, the Activity section of your quarterly statement gives you an itemized list of all transactions that occurred in the sub-account throughout the quarter. This section shows the value of your sub-account at the beginning and end of the statement period in units and total dollar value. It also displays “Deposits,” which are additions of funds to the sub-account (e.g., contributions), as well as the sub-account’s share of interest and dividends earned during each month of the quarter (denoted as “Income”).
The “Disbursements” section includes all distributions that were processed during the quarter; it also includes fees related to trust administration and investment advisory services.
Finally, “Change in Value of Investments” shows the unrealized change in market value of trust investments from the beginning to the end of the quarter. Unrealized gains (or losses) is the change in the value of an asset that has not been sold, sometimes called a paper profit (or loss). The gain (or loss) is not realized until the actual investments are sold. It’s also important to understand that this is the change in value over the time period represented on the statement, and not the change of the sub-account since the beneficiary joined the trust.
Wispact, Capital First, and True Link are dedicated to helping you understand the activity and composition of your sub-account. Information on your sub-account is also available via Wispact’s Online Account Portal. If you have any questions, please contact your dedicated Wispact customer service team at (833) 653-6503. Thank you for the opportunity to steward the assets in your trust account.
True Link Financial Advisors, LLC is an investment adviser registered with the SEC and a wholly owned subsidiary of True Link Financial, Inc.
Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Investing involves risk, including the loss of principal. Diversification does not guarantee a profit or protect against a loss in a declining market. It is a method used to help manage investment risk.
The information contained herein is not intended as individual investment advice and should not be considered as a solicitation to buy or sell any security.
Eric DeGroot, Associate Director, made a presentation on Wispact’s new trustee services to more than 160 Elder Law Attorneys at the 22nd Annual Elder and Special Needs Law Workshop on January 17, 2020. In 2019, Wispact and our Board of Directors had unanimously approved Capital First Trust Company and True Link Financial to provide our Trustee, accounting and investment services starting in January 2020.
The transition to new Trustee services represents nearly two years of preparation and work. Beginning in September of 2018, Wispact endeavored to improve the quality of service to our Beneficiaries and the community of elder and special needs law practitioners who advocate for them. Wispact did extensive surveying of both our Beneficiaries and Elder Law attorneys to develop a baseline of the areas in need of improvement to use in selecting a new trustee.
Wispact’s Board of Directors approved the Charter of a Trustee Evaluation Committee (TEC) to review the services from the current trustee. This committee was made up external stake-holders, board members, and Wispact Staff. The TEC consisted of Peter Grosskopf, Barbara S. Hughes, Bridget Erwin, Brett Bauch, and Jordan Geiger. Their hard work and advocacy have aided Wispact to select a partner who can deliver high-quality service to beneficiaries and to elder and special needs law practitioners.
With the new Trustee, Wispact has been able to overhaul our unique asset policy to ensure proper management of the asset. In addition, Wispact beneficiaries and advisors now have access to view trust account information online and more support services. Capital First and True Link share Wispact’s commitment to providing exceptional customer service and meeting the diverse financial needs of people with disabilities.
Chris Foregger, President, Capital First Trust Company, made remarks at the Workshop to introduce himself to the Elder Law community and underlined that Capital First is committed to providing improved and more personalized services to Wispact beneficiaries. Foregger has extensive experience working with clients of special needs trusts and their families. He is familiar with public benefits and the regulations governing Special Needs Trusts. In November 2015, Capital First appointed him to President and Chief Operating Officer.
DeGroot highlighted that Wispact will also partner with True Link to provide our sub-accounting and investment advisory services.
Peter J. Wall, the Director of Fiduciary Services at True Link Financial, was present to introduce himself to the group. Wall has more than 18 years of trust administration experience at national bank trust companies, he is well known throughout the country for his deep understanding of special needs and elder law issues. Prior to joining True Link, Mr. Wall developed the Disability and Elder Trust Services division of BOK Financial. Mr. Wall currently serves on the Board of Directors for Easter Seals, as well as several other estate planning and charitable organizations.
With a new Trustee in place, Wispact is positioned to improve our beneficiary services and grow to meet our needs in the future.
The beginning of the year is a good time to speak with your Beneficiary Specialist for a “financial checkup”. Have your costs of living gone up? Is your income meeting your needs? Your Beneficiary Specialist can help you maximize the use of your trust to help supplement any changes in your financial needs:
- Changes in SSI/SSDI income amounts
- Have your cost of living expenses increased since the new year?
- Does your income meet your needs?
The beginning of the new year, also marks the beginning of tax season for many people. Many of you may qualify for the filing of a homestead Tax Credit. For the year 2017 the qualifying factors are provided at https://www.revenue.wi.gov/Pages/FAQS/ise-home.aspx . You can also get information regarding filing in the Wisconsin Homestead Credit booklet available at any Department of Revenue Office. This booklet and the website also provide answers to many frequently asked questions.
It is highly recommended that you seek professional assistance in filing this claim.
If you have already received your income tax refund some consideration should be given to the money that comes in. Will receipt of your income tax refund put you over the asset threshold for Medicaid eligibility and SSI? You may be able to consider having this money deposited into your trust sub account if you do not want to spend it down.
WISPACT MISSION STATEMENT »
We improve the lives of people of all ages with disabilities across Wisconsin through the management of special needs trusts to provide more choices, more opportunities, and a better quality of life.
If you have questions about your trust account, please contact your Beneficiary Specialist.
Please note that since we are working remotely, we have no in-office operator to take your call. Please listen to our phone menu system carefully and make the best choice from options selected.
For information about our Retained Fund Grants, contact John Shaw, Retained Fund Grant Coordinator at (608) 268-6006, Ext. 204
For information about establishing a new trust account or general information about Wispact, contact our Director of Outreach, James Giese.
226 Corporate Drive
Madison, WI 53714
(608) 268-6006 | F (608) 252-8449
Sr. Administrative Assistant
(608) 268-6006, Ext. 210
MATTHEW D. R. CHANG, J.D.
Associate General Counsel
(608) 268-6006, Ext. 214
Associate Executive Director
(608) 268-6006, Ext. 202
(608) 268-6006, Ext. 217
Director of Marketing and Outreach
(608) 268-6006, Ext. 209
(608) 268-6006, Ext. 201
(608) 268-6006, Ext. 205
(608) 268-6006, Ext. 213
KRISTI L. PAPEZ, J.D.
Senior General Counsel
(608) 268-6006, Ext. 206
(608) 268-6006, Ext. 215
Retained Fund Grant Coordinator
(608) 268-6006, Ext. 204
Executive Administrative Assistant
(608) 268-6006, Ext. 207
(608) 268-6006, Ext. 203
Wispact, Inc. is not a registered investment adviser, registered stock broker or broker-dealer and does not offer investment advisory services, programs or products. Any investment questions should be directed to qualified licensed professional financial advisers.