Special Needs Trusts
Estate Planning for Children with Special Needs
A Special (or Supplemental) Needs Trust is a specialized tool designed to benefit an individual who has a disability. Among other things, an SNT can allow the parents of a special needs child to provide for their child, but in a way that does not jeopardize eligibility for means-tested government benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid. SNTs may be created by the disabled individual or by a third-party such as a family member. In either case, a trustee is appointed to oversee the funds held in trust and their distribution for the benefit of the beneficiary, and the trust document can provide who will receive any remaining assets upon the death of the primary beneficiary.
Another viable option in some cases is a Pooled Trust. While they are in many ways similar to SNTs, Pooled Trusts are set up and managed by institutions to hold funds to benefit a large number beneficiaries. They can offer advantages such as professional management and ease of administration, but usually also entail certain fees. Dominion can provide guidance to clients seeking to provide for a special needs or disabled beneficiary.