Understanding Special Needs Trusts
Defining what Special Needs Trusts are and why they are so important.
By Jeanne St. Onge
What exactly is Special Needs Planning?
Special needs planning, simply put, is very similar to that of estate planning, but with a focus on an individual with a disability. The goal of special needs planning is to ensure that the beneficiary's unique medical and financial needs will be taken care of in your absence.
What is a TRUST?
A TRUST is a relationship between three parties:
Why have a Special Needs TRUST (SNT)?
TRUSTS are established to provide legal protection for the DONOR/GRANTOR'S assets, to make sure those assets are distributed according to the wishes of the DONOR/GRANTOR . Special Needs TRUSTS allow for parents, other families members, and interested parties to contribute funds for the benefit of the BENEFICIARY, while also allowing the beneficiary to still receive benefits such as Medicaid and Security Supplemental Income (SSI).
Three types of Special Needs TRUSTS
There is no minimum amount required to fund a special needs TRUST. However, how much to put into the TRUST depends on a variety of factors, including the nature of the disability and the level of care required. Trusts can also be funded by family assets, inheritances, or even life insurance policies that pay when one or both parents pass away.
How do I decide what is best for my family?
Every Special Needs TRUST situation is unique, therefore the only way to determine which special needs TRUST is right for your family is to meet with a qualified attorney to discuss your needs.