BULLWINKEL & BROOKS, L.L.C.
SPECIAL NEEDS TRUST
Caregivers for any individual with special needs can sometimes get overwhelmed with the amount of care that is needed. The emotional stress and the pressure of daily life can take a toll on the family. The family wants to make sure that the individual with special needs is taken care of both now and in the future, specifically when the caregivers are no longer able to render care and/or are no longer here. It is a struggle to plan for individuals with special needs, particularly those persons that may be receiving state benefits, such as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and or benefits from MassHealth.
It is a challenge to create a financial plan for individuals with special needs, especially those who are receiving any state benefits. Simple estate planning typically does not work. If a person drafts a simple will leaving assets to an individual with special needs, such distribution(s) can disqualify that person from receiving any additional state benefits. Typically the state benefits are important and the family does not want to do anything that interferes with these benefits.
One solution to this issue is to create a Special (Supplemental) Needs Trust (SNT). The goal of a Supplemental Needs Trust is to preserve assets for the benefit of the special needs individual without interfering with the benefits that the special needs individual is receiving. The Supplemental Needs Trust is typically an irrevocable trust and the trustees of the Supplemental Needs Trust control the assets for the benefit of the person with special needs. The trustee is directed to distribute the assets in his or her complete discretion, other than distributions to pay for the basic needs of the individual, as these are covered by state benefits. The Supplemental Needs Trust is designed to “supplement” the needs of the individual. Typical distributions from a Supplemental needs trust include paying for vacations, movies, trips, and other things that are not typically provided through government services.
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