A special needs trust (SNT) protects assets for the benefit of an individual with disabilities (called a trust beneficiary) who is approved for or receiving public benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid, that limit the amount of assets a person may own. The trust property is not counted as an asset. A trustee manages the trust property for the trust beneficiary who by law is not permitted to control the trust property.

There are two types of SNTs: first party/self-settled and third party. A first party/self-settled SNT is funded with the assets of the individual with disabilities and has a Medicaid payback. A third party SNT is funded with assets owned by people other than the individual with disabilities, such as a parent, and does not have a Medicaid payback.

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