Special Needs Trust Law
What is a Special Needs Trust?
A Special Needs Trust is a type of trust arrangement set up to ensure that a disabled or mentally ill person who is the beneficiary of the trust can enjoy the use of property which is intended to be held for their benefit. This type of arrangement is often used to provide for the financial needs of one who is not able to care for themselves, and provides both personal planning benefits and certain fiscal benefits to the person establishing the trust (grantor). Such trusts may also allow the beneficiary to continue to receive certain government benefits they would not otherwise be entitle to if their income exceeded a certain level in a given time period, such as after a large inheritance.
Special needs trusts can provide benefits to, and protect the assets of, the physically and mentally disabled or the mentally disabled, and are frequently used to pass on an inheritance or personal injury settlement proceeds. Special needs trusts are often used to ensure that the victims of accidents or crimes will be provided for from any resulting judgments against the tortfeasor or criminal.
Special needs trusts also receive certain benefits under the law in many jurisdictions. For example, proceeds from such trusts may be taxed differently (or not at all) and will likely not be counted against eligibility for state-sponsored welfare or insurance programs like medicare or medicaid.
For more information about special needs trusts, please visit the links below. You can also find an attorney to assist you in establishing or administering a special needs trust by visiting our Law Firms page and searching by your location.
Special Needs Trusts - US
- ABA - Financial Planning - Special Needs Trusts
Much has changed in the emerging area of planning for the disabled. Law schools now routinely offer courses that address the numerous specialized needs of people who are disabled. As a consequence, the number of lawyers focusing on elder law, disability planning, and government benefits planning has increased dramatically.
- Income and Estate Tax Planning for Special Needs Trusts
There are many legal, tax and personal issues to be addressed in establishing the trust's terms; the tax adviser must anticipate the income and estate tax consequences.
- Social Security Laws
Social Security Program Rules Home Page, it contains the full text of the Social Security Act, as amended, and selected provisions of the Internal Revenue Code.
- Social Security Recent Legislation
The Office of the Deputy Commissioner for Legislative and Regulatory Affairs (ODCLRA) serves as the focal point for all legislative activity in SSA. This page has been designed to provide visitors to our website with accurate, useful, and current information about SSA's legislative program, legislative research, and other matters pertaining to the flow of information between SSA and Congress.
- Special Needs Estate Planning
A Trust is a legal document containing instructions directing the management and distribution of the resources placed in the Trust. The person creating or funding the Trust is the Grantor. The person who receives the benefit or on whose behalf the Trust was created is the Beneficiary. The Grantor appoints a Trustee, which is a person or entity (such as a bank) that will manage the Trust and distribute the Trust’s funds for the benefit of the Beneficiary. Trusts are used for a variety of purposes in estate planning.
- Special Needs or Supplemental Needs Trusts
A special needs trust- sometimes called a "supplemental needs trust"- provides for the needs of a disabled person without disqualifying him or her from benefits received from government programs such as Social Security and Medicaid. A special needs trust makes it possible to appoint a trustee to maintain assets and retain or qualify for public assistance benefits.
- Special Needs Trust - Definition
A special needs trust is created to ensure that beneficiaries who are disabled or mentally ill can enjoy the use of property which is intended to be held for their benefit. In addition to personal planning reasons for such a trust (the person may lack the mental capacity to handle their financial affairs) there may be fiscal advantages to the use of a trust. Such trusts may also avoid beneficiaries losing access to essential government benefits.
- US Code - Liens, Adjustments and Recoveries, and Transfers of Assets
Under the provisions of 42 U.S.C. § 1396p(d)(4)(A), a Disabled Individual’s Trust will not be counted as a Medicaid asset even when it is funded with the applicant’s own assets.
Organizations Related to Special Needs Trusts
- Academy of Special Needs Planners
The purpose of the Academy of Special Needs Planners is to assist special needs attorneys in providing the highest quality service and advice to individuals with special needs and to their families. In addition to providing its member attorneys with up-to-date information on legal developments nationwide and a forum for exchanging best practices, the Academy provides information to consumers through this web site and its monthly e-mail newsletter.
- Center for Special Needs Trust Administration, Inc.
Because Special Needs Trusts protect eligibility for public assistance programs such as SSI and Medicaid, they present very special and unique administrative problems. The Center for Special Needs Trust Administration, Inc. (the Center) is a Florida not-for-profit corporation that offers a special solution to this problem by offering specialized administrative services for Special Needs Trusts.
- Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities
The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities is a Coalition of national consumer, advocacy, provider and professional organizations headquartered in Washington, D.C. Since 1973, the CCD has advocated on behalf of people of all ages with physical and mental disabilities and their families. CCD has worked to achieve federal legislation and regulations that assure that the 54 million children and adults with disabilities are fully integrated into the mainstream of society.
- Disability Rights Advocates
DRA is a non-profit legal center whose mission is to ensure dignity, equality, and opportunity for people with all types of disabilities throughout the United States and worldwide.
- National Special Needs Network
The National Special Needs Network is a coast-to-coast affiliation of independent Special Needs Professionals dedicated to providing the finest and most complete special needs support services in America.
- Special Needs Alliance (SNA)
The Special Needs Alliance (SNA) is a national, not for profit organization of attorneys dedicated to the practice of disability and public benefits law. Individuals with disabilities, their families and their advisors rely on the SNA to connect them with nearby attorneys who focus their practices in the disability law arena.
Articles on HG.org Related to Special Needs Trusts
- Contributing to Your Grandchildren's FutureWhen estate planning, gifting assets to your grandchildren can do more than help your descendants get a good start in life; it can also reduce the size of your estate and the tax that will be due upon your death.
- The Duties of a Trustee: How to Choose, How to PrepareIt is not unusual for a family member to be named as trustee for a trust that benefits a number of other family members. However, just because you are related to someone does not necessarily make him or her a good trustee.
- Setting up Your Wills and Trusts with an Estate AttorneyIf you or someone you love is planning their estate, it can be a difficult and complicated process trying to wade through all the legal rules and regulations that pertain to writing your will and related documents. Setting up wills and trusts can be especially difficult because the task is often mixed in with a variety of issues such as ill health, complicated family histories, and other emotional dilemmas, which are commonly faced toward the end of a lifetime.
- 6 Circumstances where a Trust Will Serve You Better than a WillA will is the cornerstone of a complete Florida estate plan, and may be useful for anyone with assets that they wish to pass along to others, as well as parents of minor children who will need a will to name guardians for their children.
- What Are the Requirements of a Valid Will?In order for a will to be valid, it must comply with certain legal formalities. There are dire consequences of a will not following these formalities, including the decedent’s estate being distributed according to the rules of intestacy and the will being completely ignored. While the legal requirements vary by state, here are some guidelines that many states have regarding the creation of a valid will.
- Is Medicaid Planning Necessary?What American doesn’t fear that they may end up in a nursing home when they become older? This not only means a great loss of personal independence, but also a tremendous financial price tag $$. Depending on location of the facility, and level of care, nursing homes cost between $40,000 and $180,000 a year; a large investment by any means.
- What is the Difference Between a Will-based Plan and a Trust-based Plan?Explaining the differences between a Will-based plan and a Trust-based plan so you can make an educated decision for your family about what is best for you and, ultimately, for them.
- It's the New Year, is Your Estate Plan up to Date?Now that the ball has dropped and toasts have been made, did you make a New Year’s Resolution? While many people make resolutions, very few make it their top priority to get their estate plan in order. Even if you have an estate plan in place, situations change - babies are born, marriages are celebrated, loved ones die and divorces happen - these changes merit re-evaluating your estate plan. If you have been procrastinating about estate planning, here are some pointers to get you started.
- New Rules for Estate Recovery in WisconsinIn 2014, the rules regulating the Wisconsin Estate Recovery program were updated to allow Medicaid and other long-term care insurance programs to recover funds from recipients of such coverage after they have passed on by claiming parts of their estates.
- Why Everyone Should Have a WillEveryone should have a will to ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes. Since the purpose of a will is to make clear your final wishes, it is important to consult a professional during this process to ensure this complicated process produces a clear and concise, legal document.
- All Estate Planning Articles
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