Providing for a Disabled Child or Family Member
A Special Needs Trust, also called a Supplemental Needs Trust (SNT), is a specialized legal document designed to benefit a person with a disability. While it is often a stand-alone document, it can also be part of a Last Will & Testament or a Revocable Living Trust. The SNT enables a person with a physical or mental disability, or an individual with a chronic illness, to have funds available to help pay for extra care while maintaining public benefits eligibility.
It is very common for a disabled person to receive public benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid and Veterans Benefits. Gifting or leaving assets outright to a person who receives such benefits can result in program ineligibility and loss of services. One way to solve this dilemma without disinheriting the disabled person is to create a SNT.
A SNT enables funds to be held in trust for a disabled person to provide for their supplemental needs. This means that trust funds can be used to provide for things that government programs simply do not provide. It is critical however, that the trustee of a SNT get assistance from an attorney before making trust distributions.