Understanding Special Needs Trusts

When you are considering setting up a special needs trust or SNT, you will need to use an experienced special needs lawyer in Brick. This is sometimes called a Supplemental Needs Trust and means assets can be held for the specific purpose of aiding someone with disabilities, without affecting their eligibility to claim things like supplemental security income or Medicaid. They can still get their public benefits. When you meet the strict regulations around the trust, assets that are held in it are not taken into account when those programs look at whether you qualify in terms of being low-income.

What do trustees of a Special needs trust have to do?

When it comes to managing trusts, being the trustee of a special needs trust is a lot more complex. They have to maintain very precise accounts, pay taxes, invest funds and make disbursements. There are very specific and strict rules about using the assets in it. Any incorrect use can mean the person who is the beneficiary will then suffer, being disqualified from their benefits. Trustees have to meet requirements in order to qualify as well. They will need to understand the needs of the beneficiary and want to ensure the trust helps them in the best possible way.

Understanding some of the different types of SNT

A First-party SNT – This type of SNT is also known as self-settled. The trust is put together with the support of a special needs lawyer in Toms River using the assets of the person with disabilities, who is going to be the beneficiary. They most often are made up of inheritance money or personal injury settlements. The beneficiary needs to be under 65 and anything left in the trust when they die goes to Medicaid to pay back for services and care they received before they died. After that, if there is anything left it can be settled between people in their will.    

A Third-party SNT – This trust is one where the assets placed in the trust, helped by a special needs lawyer in Brick, are from someone other than the beneficiary. Often parents, sometimes siblings, grandparents and such. This trust can be created while the originator is still living or when they pass as a way to make sure their dependent is taken care of. When the beneficiary dies the funds in the trust do not have to go to Medicaid, they are passed to those named to receive these assets.   

A Pooled SNT – If you talk to a special needs lawyer in Toms River about a pooled special needs trust, this is for when the estates are smaller, or when it is not possible to have a trustee so there can be more than one account with multiple beneficiaries pooling resources between them. A lot of financial institutions will not deal with a small SNT, it needs to have a certain amount of assets in it or they charge fees. If you opt for a pooled trust beneficiaries can access better support.


By Deborah A. Serrano

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