An special needs trust (SNT) is a specialized spendthrift trust designed to preserve assets for and provide benefits to an elderly or disabled beneficiary without jeopardizing his or her eligibility for means-tested government programs such as Medi- Cal and SSI. To achieve this goal, the trustee is given unrestricted discretion to distribute income and principal to the disabled beneficiary for needs that are not covered by government programs. If an SNT is properly drafted, the trust assets will not count toward the maximum amount of resources an individual can have to be eligible for government benefits. The trust assets are then free to be used for supplemental items, such as alternative therapies and treatments. By maximizing the use of public and private funds, SNTs can greatly enhance the special needs beneficiary's quality of life. As a practical matter, an SNT may be appropriate for a beneficiary who currently receives, or may in the future rely upon, means-tested government benefits.
If you have a special needs beneficiary, it is critical that you speak with our office to set up a SNT so that their public benefits are not interrupted. Call us today.