FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
First Maryland Disability Trust, Inc.
January 24, 2024
Increasing access to trust resources for those with disabilities and their families
Lutherville, MD – Two of Maryland’s most reputable trustee organizations for individuals with special needs, First Maryland Disability Trust, Inc. (FMDT) and PLAN of Maryland-D.C., Inc. (PLAN), are now affiliated. The strategic alliance between FMDT and PLAN will foster positive growth by expanding access to trust resources and case management for individuals with special needs and their families throughout Maryland.
The formal affiliation between PLAN and FMDT comes one year after PLAN’s Board of Directors named Denise Fike as its executive director in November 2022. Since 2011, Fike has held the position of executive director and then CEO at FMDT. Currently, she serves as the CEO and executive director for both non-profit trust organizations. For over 15 years, FMDT has served as a corporate trustee, providing cost-effective trust management for people with disabilities to protect, maintain, and use trust assets while preserving clients’ eligibility for public and private benefits. Under Fike’s leadership, FMDT has provided these services to hundreds of families. Through the pooled asset trust model, FMDT avoids unnecessary spend down, improves quality of life, and makes trust management more efficient for all beneficiaries.
“Over the years, FMDT and PLAN have referred clients to each other’s organizations, and staff have worked closely together for clients. Now, we are able to combine our respective staff and their expertise to benefit all of our clients, not just a few,” says Denise Fike, CEO at FMDT.
The formal affiliation marks the initial stage of a multi-step process aimed at benefiting both organizations and their clients. PLAN stands to gain from the extensive expertise of FMDT’s staff in special needs trust and their understanding of unique legal and financial considerations. For PLAN’s trust clients, this transition means that clients will now have dedicated Trust Administrators, in addition to their case managers, and a larger team for collaboration. Every effort has been made to make the transition seamless for PLAN’s clients. There will be no change in the case management services. As both organizations provide bill paying (family escrow) and SSA Representative Payee services, these services will be merged from PLAN to FMDT over time. Additionally, FMDT will benefit by incorporating PLAN’s experienced clinical social workers to provide in-house case management services.
Over the past several years, FMDT has expanded its trust services beyond the pooled trusts to include “stand-alone” first and third-party trusts. FMDT now also serves as a Court-Appointed Guardian of Property and a Financial Power of Attorney. These services are ones that PLAN clients will also benefit from as the affiliation progresses.
FMDT has always served the entire State of Maryland through its office in Timonium while PLAN has served the Montgomery Co, Prince George’s Co., and D.C. areas from its Gaithersburg office. By maintaining both the Lutherville and Gaithersburg offices, FMDT and PLAN will be able to serve larger communities more efficiently.