A special needs trust, sometimes called a supplemental needs trust, is the term for a trust that does not interfere with important government benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). An SNT generally allows a person with a mental or physical disability to have assets held by a trustee who can supplement what the government already provides.
There are generally four types of special needs trusts in two distinct categories:
- Third Party Special Needs Trusts: This type of SNT is typically established by a parent or grandparent for a disabled child or grandchild. If a disabled person is receiving Medicaid or SSI, you are able to leave money to a beneficiary in this type of trust without effecting their government benefits.
- First Party Special Needs Trusts:
- D(4)(a) Trusts: This type of SNT is established by an individual before age 65 with their own money in order to have Medicaid/SSI benefits. Our office does not establish these types of trusts - even more specialized attorneys work in this area.
- Pooled Trusts: This type of SNT is used to help the disabled and the elderly protect their own assets when going on Medicaid. We use pooled trusts all the time in our Medicaid planning practice.
- Qualified Income Trusts: This SNT is used to when a Medicaid's applicant's income exceeds the monthly limit (see here for the monthly limit). We frequently use these as well in helping our clients in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
A special needs trust is different than a trust created for a non-disabled beneficiary, such as money held for a minor child or money held for an irresponsible adult. Assets held in a special needs trust under very specific provisions do not interfere with these programs. This will allow the person to have full access to benefits while still being able to use the special needs trust funds for other needs.
How a "Third Party Special Needs" Trust Can Help Your Loved One
- A special need trust will protect assets while making the person eligible for government benefits
- A special needs trust will step in to provide the money needed for care beyond Medicaid and other government benefits
- A special needs trust can add to a beneficiary’s quality of life by providing life’s extras, not just the necessities
- A special needs trust can pay for vacations, social events, and sports activities
- You get peace of mind knowing your disabled loved one is provided for
Why DeLoach, Hofstra & Cavonis for Your Estate Planning and Elder Law?
The reality is that not all estate planning attorneys are fluent with special needs trusts. Many estate planning attorneys do not deal with Medicaid in any aspect and are not familiar with Medicaid or other government benefits. At DeLoach, Hofstra & Cavonis, you have the best of both worlds - an estate planning attorney fluent in all aspects of estate planning, IRA planning and tax planning, along with knowledge in Medicaid, elder law and asset protection planning.
Special Needs Trust Can Provide Peace Of Mind
If you have someone special who depends on you, we can help make sure they are protected and their government benefits do not end while you provide for them.