A Special or Supplemental Needs Trust (SNT) is available to be used by parents and families with special needs individuals as a way to provide for that individual over his or her lifetime, while preserving his or her eligibility for government benefits, including SSI and Medicaid. The SSI and Medicaid rules specifically allow for the use of SNT for disabled individuals and encourage parents and families as a part of their estate planning to create SNT to hold assets for the benefit of a disabled individual. The SNT, while restrictive in how and when the assets can be used to aid the special needs individual, is a pot that is then available to help meet over time the disabled individual's supplemental support needs, which are not otherwise being provided to or paid for by the government benefits received. In this way, a SNT can provide for lifetime care needs that a special needs individual may have that the government benefits will not or cannot pay for due to the program benefit limitations.
Our firm can help prepare estate plans for parents or families with a disabled individual which include a SNT, reviewing with you the eligibility requirements for SSI and Medicaid (and other applicable means-tested government benefits), the changing regulations and rules that impact upon current or future benefit eligibility, the assets to be placed in the SNT in order to meet current or future lifetime care needs, and the important issues in selecting a trustee and managing the SNT so that the special needs individual's government benefit eligibility is preserved and protected.
An estate plan using a SNT should be tailored to the particular facts and circumstances, goals, and needs of the parent and family member, as well as the special needs individual. Our firm is able to assist with the creation and preparation a SNT that is part of a comprehensive plan to assure that the disabled individual's needs are met and maintained over his or her lifetime.