Special Needs Trust

News & Analysis as of

Adults with Special Needs May Soon Be Able to Streamline the Process to Establish First Party Special Needs Trusts on Their Own: A...

In 1993, Congress enacted Section 1917(d)(4)(A) of the Social Security Act, authorizing the establishment of special needs trusts (also called first-party trusts and self-settled trusts). First-party special needs trusts...more

Senate Passes Special Needs Trust Fairness Act; Focus Shifts to House

The Senate has unanimously approved the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act, a bill that would allow people with disabilities to create their own first-party special needs trusts without having to rely on others. Now that...more

Recent Case Spotlights Problem of Excluding People with Special Needs From Gifting Plans

In an effort to preserve government benefits for a child with special needs, parents giving gifts to children will sometimes provide nothing to the child with special needs while giving substantial amounts to the child’s...more

Congressional Hearings to Focus on Health IT, Biosimilars, Medicaid Program Legislation

Two Congressional committees are holding hearings this week on health policy issues. First, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee has scheduled a September 16, 2015 hearing on “Achieving the...more

Care Committees Help Trustees Make Decisions When They Don't Know It All

Do you know one person who is an expert in disability law, housing, medicine, social work and, on top of all that, knows all of the members of your family and how they interact with one another? If you do, this person should,...more

The ABLE account: A good alternative to a special needs trust?

Late last year, Congress passed, and the President signed, the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act. The act authorizes a new, tax-advantaged savings account, modeled after the Section 529 college savings account,...more

The ABLE Act

Although the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (or ABLE Act) was signed into law on December 19, 2014, many states have been waiting to offer ABLE accounts authorized by the Act until the IRS published regulations. The...more

Special Needs Trust Fairness Act Reintroduced in Congress

After falling short in the previous Congress, Congressmen Glenn 'GT' Thompson (R-Pa) and Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) recently introduced the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act of 2015, a bill designed to make it easier for people...more

Special Needs Trusts and Financial Aid: What Should Applicants Do?

Out of all of the stress-inducing steps in the college application process, the financial aid application may be the most confusing and stressful of all, especially when an applicant can't afford to attend college without...more

Should I Disinherit a Child with Special Needs?

Inexperienced or incompetent estate planning attorneys have a bad habit of telling parents of children with special needs to simply write their child out of their estate plan altogether in order to ensure that the child will...more

A Simple Way to Organize your Special Needs Planning Documents

If you are like most people, you didn't assemble your special needs plan all at once. You may have created a special needs trust in 2001, purchased life insurance to fund it in 2005, established a guardianship when your...more

Talking to Relatives About Guardianship of a Child with Special Needs

In a recent Washington Post advice column, a reader asked columnist Carolyn Hax whether the reader should explain her decision to name one set of relatives as the guardians of her children to the relatives that she did not...more

7 Questions to Ask When You've Been Invited to Be Trustee of a Special Needs Trust

So you have been asked to serve as the trustee of a friend or family member's special needs trust. While your selection is a great honor, it is also a great responsibility. Here are seven questions to ask before saying...more

Accounting Is Not Only Important - It's Mandatory

Imagine how you would feel if you walked into your bank, asked for a summary of your account activity and the bank told you that it had no idea how much money was in your account or how it had been spent. Of course, this...more

Choosing a Trustee for a Special Needs Trust

Choosing a trustee is one of the most important and difficult issues in creating a special needs trust (SNT). Trustees must have the necessary expertise to manage the trust, including making proper investments, paying bills,...more

Beneficiary Designations Can Cause Problems for Children With Special Needs

Private retirement savings plans, like IRAs and 401(k)s, have become the main way for American families to save for retirement. But parents of children with special needs need to be vigilant when signing up for a retirement...more

College Savings for Students With Special Needs

Faced with the increasing cost of higher education, students and their families must begin saving for college from an early age -- often from birth. 529 College Savings Plans offer families a great opportunity to set aside...more

What Is a "First-Party" Special Needs Trust and When Is It Useful?

A Special Needs Trust (SNT) can play an important role in preserving the financial security and lifestyle of a person with special needs. A properly drafted SNT allows the individual to benefit from supplemental resources...more

What Is a Pooled Trust and How Does It Protect My Family Member?

Because beneficiaries of programs like Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid must be quite poor to qualify, they can lose their benefits when they come into an inheritance, receive money in their own names from an...more

Is Your Special Needs Plan Due for a Tune-Up?

Doctors recommend visiting once every year for a physical, and dentists stress the importance of six-month checkups, but did you know that you should also take the time to review your special needs plan with your attorney at...more

Insight on Estate Planning - Year End 2013

In This Issue: - State death taxes can be hazardous to your estate - Can portability help preserve retirement benefits? - Provide for family members with special needs using an SNT - Estate...more

The Importance of Special Needs Trusts

The San Francisco Chronicle recently featured an excerpt of an article called “Onslaught of Autism: A Mom’s Crusade Could Help Unravel Scientific Mystery.” The full article by Jane Kay was published in the Environmental...more

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