Supplemental Needs Trusts and Special Needs Trusts

Our attorneys are experienced in assisting clients with the preparation of Special Needs Trusts and Supplemental Needs Trusts for disabled beneficiaries. Individuals who qualify for state and federal need-based assistance require special planning to ensure that an inheritance or personal injury settlement does not disqualify the person from receiving assistance to which they are entitled. A Supplemental Needs Trust or a Special Needs Trust can be created to ensure that the beneficiary gets the benefit of their inheritance or settlement without losing eligibility for state and federal assistance. We are experienced and knowledgeable in this specialized area of estate planning and are able to assist beneficiaries and their families to ensure the beneficiary's well-being is not jeopardized by receiving an inheritance.

Depending on the source of the assets, a Supplemental Needs Trust or a Special Needs Trust should be created for the benefit of individuals with disabilities:

  • Special Needs Trust: This can be created for an individual with a disability if her or she has received an inheritance or a personal injury settlement. This type of trust enables an individual with special needs to benefit from their inheritance or settlement without disqualifying the disabled individual from needs-based public programs.
  • Supplemental Needs Trust: This trust can be created in order to give lifetime gifts or gifts at death to a disabled person without disqualifying the individual from state, county and federal programs. Creating this trust allows family and friends to make gifts or leave an inheritance to a disabled person without causing the individual to lose those benefits.
  • Pooled Special Needs Trust: When an individual with special needs receives a small inheritance or personal injury settlement, a pooled trust may be used so that the individual receives the benefit of the asset without becoming disqualified from government assistance. A pooled trust is managed by a nonprofit organization. By pooling the assets of multiple special needs beneficiaries, this type of trust allows the trust to be administered at a lower cost by a nonprofit trustee. Anyone can add funds to a pooled trust. Upon the death of the beneficiary, the remaining funds in the trust stay with nonprofit organization and will be used to support other individuals.