Special Needs Trusts

When Should You Consider a Pooled Trust?

By Janet Lowder, CELA, and Elena Lidrbauch, CELA Directly receiving a personal injury settlement, inheritance or other sizable sum of money can derail the finances of someone with disabilities. That’s because having more than $2,000 in resources makes them ineligible for means-tested government programs such as Medicaid and SSI (Supplemental Security Income), which may be [...]


Roundup: Subsidized Housing/Nursing Home Contracts/Alzheimer’s

SNA attorneys have ongoing involvement with the wide-ranging issues faced by individuals with disabilities, their families and the professionals who serve them. Below is a sampling of posts from member blogs and newsletters. SNTs and Section 8 Housing A recent court decision has implications for special needs trust beneficiaries who seek subsidized housing. Read more. Nursing Home [...]


Consider Sole Benefit Trusts for Medicaid Spend Down

By Jane Skelton, Esq. Long-term care is expensive, and an older individual may consider Medicaid to pay for that care. If the individual has a family member or friend with a disability, a sole benefit trust could be considered. If drafted correctly, transfers of the individual’s assets to a sole benefit trust would hasten Medicaid [...]

2024-05-15T14:42:20-04:00Tags: |

Income Taxes and Special Needs

This installment of the Voice was written by Robert B. Fleming, CELA. Robert is a partner in Fleming & Curti, PLC, a Tucson law firm focusing on special needs planning, trust administration, guardianship/conservatorship and estate planning. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, and also of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. He has been a member of the Special Needs Alliance since its founding, and was one of the original co-authors of the SNA's Handbook for Trustees, the free online guide to managing special needs trusts.

2024-05-06T14:54:23-04:00Tags: |

Consider Special-Purpose Trusts When Facing Mental Illness or Substance Abuse

By Shawn Majette, Esq. Over the last 30 years, I have participated in more than 10,000 involuntary civil commitment hearings. Each involved someone alleged to have been so seriously mentally ill or substance-addicted that he or she could not safely remain in the community. Each involved lawyers, handcuffs and forensic examiners. This note explains how [...]

2024-05-15T14:33:20-04:00Tags: |

Distributions from Special Needs Trusts: In Kind Distributions, Credit Cards, Gift Cards, or Debit Cards

You are the trustee of a special needs trust. Your beneficiary (Beth) lives in public housing, receives SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and MA (Medical Assistance), and has just asked you for a $200 gift card to Target so that she can buy headphones, clothes, toiletries, and some food. Remember, a special needs trust (SNT) is [...]

2024-05-06T14:52:40-04:00Tags: |

Roundup: Special Needs Trusts/Vets with Disabilities/Medicare

SNA attorneys have ongoing involvement with the wide-ranging issues faced by individuals with disabilities, their families and the professionals who serve them. Below is a sampling of posts from member blogs and newsletters. Mother's Gifts to Children Create Dispute over Special Needs Daughter When planning for the longtime financial security of a child with disabilities, it's best [...]


Siblings Don’t Always Make the Best Trustees

By Robert B. Fleming, CELA As the parent of a child with disabilities, you may already know that you have to establish a trust to handle any inheritance you leave for your son or daughter. But do you know the most important question? Selecting your trustee is at least as critical as getting the trust [...]

2024-05-15T14:28:24-04:00Tags: |

SNTs, Qualified Disability Trusts and ABLE Accounts: Slashing Tax Liability

By Ron M. Landsman, Esq. Special needs trusts (SNTs) enable funds to be saved on behalf of an individual with disabilities without affecting their eligibility for means-tested programs such as SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and Medicaid. Since income generated within trusts is often subject to high tax rates, it’s sometimes assumed that the same is [...]


Crossing State Lines

Special Needs Planning for Moving to a New State By Wendy H. Sheinberg, CELA No one enjoys moving; it's hard work and involves lots of detail (not to mention all of those boxes). Managing the transition for someone with special needs can be difficult; it's wise to begin planning as soon as you begin seriously [...]


New Savings Accounts May Fund Care for Individuals with Disabilities

By Morris Klein, CELA In December, amidst much euphoria, Congress passed and President Obama signed into law the ABLE Act of 2014 (Achieving a Better Life Experience). ABLE empowers states to create programs enabling individuals with certain disabilities to establish tax-free savings accounts modeled after the popular 529 college savings plans that, if used for [...]


Blog Roundup: 504 Plans/Health of Seniors/Managing SNTs

SNA attorneys have ongoing involvement with a wide array of issues faced by individuals with disabilities, their families and the professionals who serve them. Below is a sampling of recent posts from member blogs. So What Exactly Is a 504 Plan? A 504 Plan provides accommodations and services‚ÄĒbut not special instruction‚ÄĒto students with disabilities. Ranking [...]


Child Support for an Adult Child with Disabilities

The Voice is the email newsletter of The Special Needs Alliance. This installment was written by Special Needs Alliance member Craig C. Reaves, CELA of Reaves Law Firm, PC. in Kansas City, Missouri. Holding the CELA (Certified Elder Law Attorney) designation from the National Elder Law Foundation, he is a Past President and Fellow of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and a Fellow of the American College of Trust & Estate Counsel (ACTEC). He is listed in Best Lawyers in America and has been designated as a Missouri Super Lawyer. Mr. Reaves is an adjunct professor of elder law at the law schools of the University of Kansas and the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He practices law in Kansas and Missouri with major emphasis in the areas of estate planning, elder law, special needs trusts, and planning for persons who have a disability.

How to Assess Future Life Needs for a Loved One with a Disability

By Joanne Marcus, MSW, Executive Director, Commonwealth Community Trust The first months, or even years, after receiving the diagnosis are filled with unexpected questions and challenges when you have a loved one with special needs. ‚ÄúHere-and-now‚ÄĚ needs like healthcare, therapy, education and other immediate needs can quickly take priority over future planning, which is understandable. [...]