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.

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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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    The law of contracts governs a wide range of business and commercial activity, allowing individuals and businesses to take risks with the knowledge that they have legal recourse. Breach of contract claims, however, are only possible between parties to a binding contract. This does not cover many situations in which someone else interferes in a contractual or economic relationship.
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    Today’s family structure is much different than it was many years ago. A large number of families are now blended with married spouses and children from previous relationships. Blended families have more complex wealth planning considerations than others. This often requires special care and advance planning.
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  • ABLE Accounts for Families with Special Needs
    Families who have children with special needs often try to plan ahead to anticipate the needs of the child with disabilities. It is often very costly to provide for the basic needs of a child in this situation. However, parents who take steps to try to safeguard resources for their disabled child’s use may wind up causing a child to lose benefits. ABLE accounts may be able to fill in the gap for these families.
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  • What Are the Uses for a Miller Trust?
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