Special needs trusts: Not just for the needy
Abstract: If a child or other family member has a disabling condition requiring long-term care or that prevents them (or will prevent them) from being able to support themselves, a special needs trust (SNT) might be in order. Also known as a supplemental needs trust, an SNT can enhance a family member’s quality of life without jeopardizing his or her eligibility for government benefits, such as Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This article describes what the trust does and the considerations involved in setting one up; it also describes an option for beneficiaries who have too much money to be eligible for Medicaid or SSI. A sidebar describes what can be done if a trust has Crummey withdrawal powers that render a beneficiary ineligible for government assistance.