If you have a loved one with disabilities, you must plan for things in your day-to-day life that other people don’t even consider. One of those considerations is the effect that an inheritance might have on a disabled loved-one’s income.

For most people, an inheritance is a good thing. For loved ones with disabilities, it could mean jeopardizing their eligibility to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid benefits. However, you may be able to prevent any inheritance-related problems by setting up a special needs trust.

What Is a Special Needs Trust

A special needs trust (“SNT”) is a financial planning vehicle that allows parents, family members and other interested parties to contribute funds to a trust for the benefit of a disabled person, without disqualifying them from SSI and Medicaid benefits.

Generally, these benefit programs place limits on a disabled person’s income and require that recipients have no more than $2000 in assets.

Types of Special Needs Trusts

There are two types of SNTs: a General Support SNT and a Supplemental Care SNT.

A General Support SNT is appropriate if trust assets and resources are likely to cover the cost of supporting and caring for the beneficiary throughout her lifetime.

If trust assets will be inadequate to fund the needs of the beneficiary, then a Supplemental Care SNT is likely the most viable option. Supplemental Care SNTs are designed to supplement a disabled person’s government benefits while enhancing their quality of life.

Special Needs Trust Administration

Funders may create a SNT during their lifetime or by function of a will. SNTs also may be self-funded by the beneficiary. However, to avoid interfering with government benefits, trustees cannot give trust funds directly to the recipient. Instead, trustee must use trust funds to pay for products and services like health aides, out-of-pocket medical expenses, and home furnishings.

If you think a special needs trust would help you or a loved one, we can help. Contact our office or call us at (314) 454-9100 to speak with one of our seasoned special needs trust attorneys today.


Who is Steven Spewak?

Steven is an estate planning attorney whose client’s are confident and secure that they, their loved ones and their legacies are protected.

As an experienced attorney, Steven works with his clients in the areas of estate planning, trusts, probate, asset protection and business succession planning. He is known in the industry for providing exceptional client value and turn-key service.

Steven has maintained Martindale Hubbel’s highest preeminent AV rating as an attorney for more than 20 years, been recognized by St. Louis Magazine as a Five Star Wealth Advisor four times, and recognized by St. Louis Small Business Monthly as a top attorney for business owners to work with. Steven also regularly teaches continuing education courses in areas related to estate planning, asset protection and business succession planning to CPAs, financial and insurance advisors and other attorneys.