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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    When inheriting a foreign estate, the individual needs to understand what laws pertain to the process so his or her inheritance does not face complications with the United States Internal Revenue Service agencies. It is recommended to contact a lawyer before attempting to import the foreign estate funds, assets or property.
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  • Charitable Remainder Unitrust – What Are They
    Unitrusts are standard trusts with a trustee and monetary disbursements to the beneficiaries with an added difference once the trust term expires. Once the trust is no longer paid to the beneficiary, the assets that remain within the unitrust then go to the charity of whichever purposes the trust exist for by the person designating it.
  • What Is an Income Cap Trust?
    Income caps affect the elderly and other individuals seeking Medicaid for long-term assistance, and when the older person needs an income cap trust, this could affect the situation with children or other guardians. Those seeking to help an elderly individual in need of long-term care may need to satisfy the state conditions to do so for him or her.
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    Any type of redirecting consumer traffic and sales away from a business is part of unfair competition practices and activity, and even certain non-profit organizations engage in these situations sometimes. It is important to know when this occurs and how it affects the company so that the owner is able to pursue legal action when the offense is serious enough.
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    If a person does not have a will, state law determines who stands to inherit his or her property. These laws are referred to laws as intestate succession. Every state has a series of laws in place to deal with this often common situation. Individuals who do not like the way that the state distributes their property can use the information as a cautionary tale and as an incentive to speak to an experienced estate planning lawyer to create a will.
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    Many individuals want to provide an inheritance to grandchildren. There may be a variety of situations in which grandchildren’s situations are considered in order to provide an effective estate plan. There are many strategies to provide for grandchildren, depending on the circumstances.
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    The Fair Trade Commission Act has a connection with unfair compensation and deceptive trade practices both in business interactions and commercial success. When a business or individual harmed through these issues needs a remedy, he or she or the company may seek such through the courts with enhanced rights and possible positive conclusions in court.
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    Inheriting a California timeshare through a will from the deceased estate owner is possible and occurs through the courts in this state by probate alternatives. While the timeshares may often go on overlooked in inheritances, these properties and the interests in them could provide several benefits to the heirs of the probate process.
  • When Does Unfair Competition Rise to the Level of an Actionable Offense?
    It is important to understand how to deal with unfair competition in the business world, or the victim of such actions may not have any recourse based on possible actionable offenses versus those that are not yet to that level. In seeking a remedy to the activity, those affected need to gather as much evidence and attempt to resolve the matter with a lawyer.
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