Wispact: Improving the Lives of People with Disabilities

Each day, Wispact operates with our Mission in mind: “To improve the lives of people of all ages with disabilities across Wisconsin through the management of special needs trusts to provide more choice, more opportunities, and a better quality of life.”

This year, we have successfully transitioned to new trustee services and responded to a pandemic with a remote work model without disruption to our beneficiary services. Our beneficiary survey and feedback indicates we have maintained and improved our service.

The transition to new Trustee services represents nearly two years of preparation and work. Wispact and our Board of Directors have unanimously approved Capital First Trust Company and True Link Financial to provide our Trustee, accounting and investment services starting in January 2020. Initial feedback from our creating attorney community has been positive.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and recognizing that Wispact serves some very medically vulnerable individuals, Wispact took decisive and early action to put remote work protocols in place for staff and interactions with clients.

Wispact offers charitable grants to beneficiaries through our Retained Fund Grants program. In 2020 with increased use by beneficiaries impacted by the pandemic, Wispact is on track to provide a record of more than $5 million in financial assistance for the benefit of Wispact Trust Beneficiaries through subsidy awards. Our Retained Fund Grant Manager works with our Beneficiary Specialists to identify beneficiaries in need and these grants are documented and have a positive impact on the lives of individuals with disabilities throughout the state.

Our continuing goal is to improve the service we provide to beneficiaries, their families and advisors, and the professionals who support them. In the coming year, we look forward to fulfilling our mission and improving our service to beneficiaries.

Kevin Hayde | Executive Director
608-268-6006 Ext.201

Overview of 2020 Taxes

If you have a savings/checking account/certificate of deposit, you are used to receiving a 1099 by 2/1 of each year noting the interest that has been reported to the IRS. You may wonder why you don’t receive tax information from your Wispact Trust until mid to late March of each year. The short answer is that the format of each year’s state and federal income tax forms must first be approved by the IRS before those forms can be used, there is a 30 – 60 day review period to determine if it is likely that final tax information has been received from the mutual fund and exchange traded fund (ETFs) companies that the Wispact Trusts are invested in, and the Wispact Trust itself may be waiting for a K-1 tax document from an estate, REIT or publicly traded partnership that contributed money to or was held by the Trust.

Your Wispact Trust is invested in mutual funds and ETFs which must report dividends and capital gains/loss information annually to the Wispact Trust. This tax information must be reported on or before April 15th, including the reclassification of dividends. If Trust tax information is submitted to Beneficiaries, and a mutual fund company subsequently reclassifies dividend information, then amended tax information would have to be issued to Beneficiaries who may then have to amend their own personal 1040 tax returns. To avoid having to issue amended tax information, mutual fund and ETF historical information is reviewed during the first 30 – 60 days of each new year, to determine if it is likely that the mutual fund company will re-classify dividend information, and to determine a date when the tax preparation can begin. However, mutual fund and ETF companies may and routinely do reclassify dividend information right up until April 15th.

When the Wispact Trusts receive the mutual fund and ETF tax information, the information is allocated/unitized among all Wispact Trust sub-accounts. After this unitization, the WisPACT Trust tax preparation can begin, and this tax information is required to be sent to beneficiaries on or before April 15th.

What tax information is sent to beneficiaries?

  • Grantor Tax Letters are issued to beneficiaries of self-funded accounts to incorporate the trust sub-account tax transactions on their personal 1040 income tax returns.
  • A 1041 Fiduciary Income Tax return is prepared for 3rd party funded trust accounts and a K-1 tax document may be issued from this tax return to a beneficiary. The beneficiary then reports the K-1 tax information on the beneficiary’s personal 1040 income tax return. The IRS website publishes K-1 instructions for a beneficiary filing a 1040 income tax return. A beneficiary should wait to receive the K-1 tax form before filing their personal 1040 income tax return. If a beneficiary doesn’t wait for the K-1, there is the possibility that their 1040 income tax returns may need to be amended.

When will tax information be sent to beneficiaries?

It is anticipated that the tax information will be placed in the mail to beneficiaries on or before March 15, 2021 though the actual delivery date will depend on the U.S. Postal Service. However, there may be circumstances unique to a particular trust file(s) or data that may not be available in time that may cause the mailing of the tax information to beneficiaries to be delayed.

Could amended Wispact Trust tax information be mailed to beneficiaries after March 15, 2021?

Yes, if additional 1099’s are received, an estate issues a K-1 to a Wispact Trust whose tax preparation has already been completed, or amended tax information is received from the mutual fund or ETF companies the Wispact Trusts are invested in, amended Wispact Trust tax information may need to be prepared.

The Wispact tax information is furnished by an accountant and neither Wispact nor the Trustee, Capital First, are tax professionals and are not able to interpret the tax information or to advise a beneficiary as to whether the beneficiary meets the requirements to file a 1040 tax return. All beneficiary tax questions, and tax information received by a beneficiary, should be directed to the beneficiary’s tax professional to determine what information may need to be included on a beneficiary’s personal 1040 income tax return.

Beneficiaries and Advisors: Please Update Your Mailing Address

To ensure that you and your advisors get important trust statements and tax information, please make sure your address and your advisors address is correct and up-to-date. If you are unsure if Wispact has the correct address – please contact your Beneficiary Specialist to update, see the staff phone listing for contacts.

Wispact Staff Changes

Wispact has recently added staff and promoted current staff to positions of increased responsibilities. Please welcome our newest staff and commend personnel on promotions.

Bonnie Bernhardt. Bonnie has been hired as Executive Administrative Assistant and Board Liaison. She will be supporting the Executive Director and Board members. Bonnie’s previous experience has been in the administrative field; working for different organizations throughout the years including non-profit and supporting Board members. Recent experience included not only an administrative/office management role, but she was a skills instructor for individuals with disabilities. Bonnie says she is looking forward to joining Wispact and working in an environment of helping others.

John Cauthen. John has been working at Wispact as a new Beneficiary Specialist since July. He has been in the health and human services field for 12 years with a variety of jobs: case manager, home coordinator, job developer, and job coach. This has given John experience with the challenges that individuals with disabilities face in their daily lives. John loves sports and outdoors and has been to 36 out of the 50 states! John has also let staff know that he is a huge fan of the Tennessee Titans football team.

Melissa Barber-Pollard. Melissa has been at Wispact for more than two years as the Senior Administrative assistant in the Operations Department. She has been promoted to Operations Manager. In this role, Melissa will be responsible for the intake of new trust applications; making deposits into trust accounts; and providing reports to our various departments. Melissa has a degree in Business Management. She has worked for the WI Department of Vocational Rehabilitation; Wisconsin Lottery; and the Department of Veteran Affairs. Melissa says that she is looking forward to new role and is confident her past work and education experiences will transition into her new position.

Helen A. Taylor. Helen Taylor has been with Wispact for four years as Executive Administrative Assistant, supporting the Executive Director and Board of Directors. Helen was recently promoted to Human Resources Generalist and is responsible for carrying out a myriad of duties in the areas of recruitment and employment, new employee onboarding, benefits administration and communications, employee relations, training, performance management, policy implementation, employment law, and Health and Wellness. Helen is excited about the new role and opportunity to put past experiences and transferrable skills to work.

Wispact Client Satisfaction Survey – Results

Wispact constantly strives to serve our beneficiaries and their advisors. We want to know how we can improve. This summer, Wispact conducted an extensive customer survey to determine how we can improve our services to beneficiaries.

Overall, beneficiaries and advisors rate our services highly and recommend Wispact to their friends and family.  The results are shared with the staff and Wispact Board to inform decisions on customer service improvements.

If you have not taken the survey and would like to rate Wispact, please feel free to do so! Responses are confidential and not identified by the individual.

Take the survey:


If you have already taken the survey – thank you! If you have questions about the survey or comments or would prefer to take the survey by phone, please contact James GIese, Wispact Marketing Director at 608-268-6006 ext. 209 or direct number 608-210-4265.

Contacting Wispact Staff

During the pandemic, Wispact’s Physical Office Location at 226 Corporate Dr., Madison, WI has limited access for the public. Please contact us before visiting. But all Beneficiary Specialists are working remotely and processing distributions – if possible submit documents directly via email or fax.

We realize how important our distributions are to you. Please be aware we can process distributions submitted via email and fax much more efficiently than those submitted via mail.

For a list of Beneficiary Specialists and staff, see Staff Contact Page>> 

About the Email Newsletter

Beneficiaries and Advisors – Wispact has switched to an email format for newsletters. If you would like someone to receive this (beneficiary or advisor), please reply to James Giese, Director of Communications, jgiese@wispact.org 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.

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. For information about establishing a new trust account or general information about Wispact, contact our
Director of Outreach, James Giese.
Wispact, Inc.
226 Corporate Drive
Madison, WI 53714
(608) 268-6006 | F (608) 252-8449

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.