Special Needs Trusts

At Shober & Rock, we prepare and consult on Special Needs and Supplemental Needs trusts to permit our Client’s to maintain public benefits while retaining rights to private benefits either received in Court proceedings or from estates or other trusts. This is a very specialized area of the law that is constantly changing. Make sure that you seek the counsel of attorneys who actively work in this area.

Special Needs Trusts FAQ’s

What is a special needs trust? Generally speaking a special needs trust is a trust that is available to an elderly or disabled individual on public benefits but is not countable as an asset.   It can be used for needs that are not covered by the benefit program such as special care planning and rehabilitation and social activities.   They are extremely technical and must be done carefully in order to pass review by Medicaid and Social Security.

How much does a special needs trust cost? You can create one in your Will and it will cost nothing more than the Will costs.  Setting one up involves getting an account and tax id number and instructing the trustees on the administration.  In cases where the Court will authorize a trust, a Petition must be filed.  The costs can run into the thousands of dollars.  The benefits however drastically outweigh the costs.

When do I need a special needs trust?  When you are on or think you will be on Medical Assistance, Medicaid or SSI or any needs based program.

Types of special needs trusts explained? Generally speaking there are “first party” and “third party” trusts.  First party is those set up with the recipients money and will eventually be paid over to the state or government after the recipient’s death.  A third party trust is set up by parent or loved one and is usually referred to as “supplemental needs trusts” and can go to other family members at the death of the recipient.  There are also sole benefit trusts that can be established for individuals under 65 and disabled.

Social security and SSI and special needs trust?  A special needs trust can be used to protect valuable SSI and Medicaid eligibility.  The trust must be reviewed by the SSA initially and each year during its term.

Can  I protect my injury settlement with a special needs trust?  Yes, so long as the Court agrees it will set up the trust and authorized the payment of the settlement into the trust.  This is required to pay back Medicaid at the death of the recipient.

Can I protect my inheritance with a special needs trust?  This third party trust is very easy to use, simple requiring the Will have language of intention about the use of the funds, that they are to supplant and not replace the benefits of SSI or Medicaid.  Too many people forget to consider the needs of their beneficiaries and unwittingly interfere with their ability to keep very valuable public health benefits.

What is a supplemental needs trust? Generally a third party trust that may be paid over to other beneficairies at the death of the recipient rather than being paid back to the state.

What is third party special needs trust? Set up with assets of someone other than the recipient.

What is a first party trust and who can be a beneficiary?  Set up with the assets of the recipient and done by someone acting on his behalf such as an agent or a Court.    It is likely that the recipient will be someone who is on or who will require public benefits such as SSI or Medical Assistance.

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The Elder Law Attorneys at Shober and Rock represent clients with a wide range of needs. Call (215) 345-4301 today to consult with our experienced Nursing Home Abuse Lawyers.