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
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- A Living Trust, Just What Is That?Many probate and estate planning attorneys act as if everyone should have a trust yet most Americans don’t even have a simple hand written will. Given that trusts can easily cost thousands of dollars in legal fees, it’s a big purchase that shouldn’t be taken lightly, consider the consequences if you do not have a proper trust:
- Common Misconceptions about ProbateThe number one misconception people have about probate is that having a will means no probate; all wills go to probate, whether it was a handwritten or typed, primarily because only the judge can sign over the assets to the beneficiaries.
- How Do You Know if Your Probate Attorney Is Qualified?What Should I Ask an Attorney that Handles Probate and Estate Planning? Ask about their experience; ask them how many probates have they handled in the last 10 years, and ask if they’ve been sued for one.
- Elder Law and Estate PlanningToday it's more important than every before to plan your estates. People are living longer and thus acquiring more assets, it is imperative that you protect those assets.
- Understanding and Defending a Will in CaliforniaProbate is a division of the Superior Court of the State of California. The Probate court has jurisdiction over what are deemed “legally incompetent parties”, generally that includes deceased, disabled, and incapacitated persons. The responsibility of the Probate court is to protect these individuals and their assets.
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