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.

Copyright HG.org


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

  • Can I Put a Trust in My Will?
    Many people choose to have either a trust or a will. However, others may actually include a trust within a will. This is often referred to as a testamentary trust. This type of trust does not go into effect until the testator’s death. Other trusts are set up during the lifetime of the person making it. There are important things to understand about a trust of this nature.
  • Your Special Needs Child and Estate Planning
    When there are children with special needs that may inherit or are dependent on the estate owner, certain provisions are necessary in the estate plan. This could include healthcare, long-term care, planning for the unexpected and hiring an agent to ensure business matters are taken care of while the child adjusts to his or her new role.
  • Three Types of Trusts: Differences and Similarities
    Trusts are created usually to assist heirs with managing or acquiring assets that may bypass probate or other legal concerns such as dependents that attempt to challenge a will. Other benefits of trusts may include evading certain taxes, lawyer expenses and keeping the income within the family or with a beneficiary that has been chosen by the estate owner.
  • Effect of Failing to Account for Unborn Children in an Estate Plan
    When building an estate plan, it is crucial to account for unborn children when their conception is known. Without planning for these children, the owner of the estate may have challenges to his or her will, last testament or other legal documents to pass down his or her assets to dependents.
  • What New Parents Need to Know about Wills
    Every parent should have an understanding of how will work and why one is necessary. Unfortunately, over half of all United States citizens have no will or any preparation for the next generation of heirs, and this could leave state processes passing on assets.
  • Small Estate Administration Considerations
    Smaller estates usually have less administration complications than their larger counterparts. However, administration considerations should be researched and understood by the owner so that he or she is able to leave enough to beneficiaries or heirs with probate processes known or similar situations mapped out.
  • Is an Anticompetitive Contract Clause an Ancillary Restraint that Will Survive Antitrust Scrutiny?
    Setting prices or allocating markets with your competitor is a terrible idea. Doing so is likely to lead to civil litigation and perhaps even criminal penalties.
  • The Requirements of an HSR Antitrust Filing for a Merger or Acquisition in the United States
    In the United States, mergers and acquisitions involving companies of a certain size must be reviewed by one of the competition authorities—the Federal Trade Commission or the Department of Justice.
  • What to Do when a Disability Disrupts Your Estate Plan
    Disabilities may occur at any time in the life of an individual. Because of this, it is important to plan properly and adjust the estate plan when an unforeseen disability disrupts the life of the owner of an estate.
  • When Irrevocable Trusts can be Modified
    Based on the circumstances, it may be possible to modify irrevocable trusts even though they are generally unchangeable. There are five different times when these trusts may be altered to fit the needs of the creator that owns an estate.
  • All Estate Planning Articles

    Articles written by attorneys and experts worldwide discussing legal aspects related to Estate Planning including: estate and trust, inheritance law, personal property, probate, wills.

  • All Health Care and Social Law Articles

    Articles written by attorneys and experts worldwide discussing legal aspects related to Health Care and Social including: defective drugs, failure to diagnose, informed consent, medical law, medical malpractice, medication errors, pharmaceutical law, social security, social services law, surgical errors.




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