E6 – Making HEMS Human

Drafting attorneys and fiduciaries often have differing definitions of “Health, Education, Maintenance
and Support” (HEMS) discretionary distribution provisions contained in trusts. This session will contain a
comprehensive review of common law, Restatement (Second and Third) of Trusts and the Uniform Trust
Code regarding trustee discretion and distribution standards. The presentation will cover Discretionary
Trusts, Family and Marital Trusts, SNTs, Spendthrift Trusts, and trusts for minor beneficiaries. Trustee
prudency and the duties of loyalty and impartiality will be addressed as well as other esoteric
discretionary distribution standards such as “comfort”, “happiness”, and “convenience.” Best practice
tips will be provided for drafting attorneys and fiduciaries to ensure beneficiary empowerment and
quality of life. Presentation incorporates fun and interactive case studies throughout.


Herb Thomas

Herb Thomas

Kairos Fiduciary

For Herb Thomas, founder of Kairos Fiduciary Services, serving as a trustee for Special Needs Trusts and Settlement Trusts is more than a job or career. It is a calling that holds a personal significance, since he has a child diagnosed with special needs. Herb understands what parents and people who are injured need to consider as they move forward in their lives.

Herb has years of expertise in Special Needs Trust and Settlement Trust administration in the state of California and nationwide as well as a depth of experience in Conservatorships, Public Benefits Advocacy, and Probate Estate Administration. He is a California Licensed Professional Fiduciary (CLPF), with license number #86—meaning he was one of the first 100 people in California to earn the authority to serve as a professional fiduciary.

He is a frequent speaker at conferences such as the Academy of Special Needs Planners (ASNP), the Professional Fiduciary Association of California (PFAC), and the California SNT Symposium.  He is the co-author of chapter 15, “Setting Up Systems for Efficient SNT Administration” in the well-received book, Administering the California Special Needs Trust:

A Guide for Trustees and Those Who Advise Them. He was also a recent guest on the podcast Absolute Trust, where he discussed the benefits of working with a professional Special Needs Trust fiduciary.

Before opening a fiduciary practice, Herb served as the Benefits Advocate for Kaiser Permanente’s very first Community Benefits Advocacy program. He also worked at the

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for seven years as a Taxpayer Delinquency Investigator. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Sciences from San Francisco State University, and has served on the boards of a variety of non-profit organizations including Behavioral Intervention for Autism (BIA4Autism) and Legal Assistance for Seniors.

Herb is married and the father of three children. In his free time, he loves spending time with family and friends. The family loves to travel together and have visited Russia, Brazil, the African continent, Western Europe, and a great many beaches throughout Hawaii. He is an avid foodie and enjoys tinkering with and repairing electrical and mechanical gadgets.

Peter Wall

Peter Wall

Peter J Wall is the Director of Fiduciary Services for True Link Financial. Prior to joining True Link Financial, Mr. Wall developed and helped lead a dedicated Disability and Elder Law division of an $80 billion nationally charted trust bank. With over 20 years of trust administration and planning experience, Peter focuses his efforts in the Elder Law Arena and is known for his Special Needs Trust administration and planning capabilities throughout the country. A Bachelor of Arts with Honors graduate of the University of Northern Colorado, Mr. Wall is the former president for the Centennial Estate Planning Council, President of the Board of Directors of Colorado Access Gallery, and serves on the Board of Directors for Easter Seals. He is a frequent presenter on the topics of Special Needs Trusts, estate planning, taxation, and trust administration and was a presenter and faculty member at the CBA 2012, 2014, 2015, 2017 and 2022 Elder Law Retreat, the 2013 National Down Syndrome Congress, the 2015 46th Annual Autism Society National Conference, and the 2018-2022 Stetson National Special Needs Trust Conference. Mr. Wall is also a published author, most notably in the Elder Law in Colorado Red Book, Fourth Edition. Peter is a nationally recognized touring saxophonist and lives in Denver, CO with his wife and two children.