A special needs trust is a special design or specially catered trust that is meant to protect a trust recipient or trust beneficiary’s ability to receive publicly available, means-tested benefits such as Social Security disability or SSI income.
The reason that it’s special, or designated special, is that the trustee of that trust has unlimited authority or discretion as to whether they’re going to make a disbursement from that trust. This is important, because it keeps those trust proceeds or funds from being counted as assets to that recipient’s estate.
These means-tested benefits look at the recipient’s income level and asset pool. If they have too high of an income or too many assets to their name, then they would be deemed ineligible for that benefit, so it’s important if you have somebody, a loved one that is receiving those benefits, to get in and speak with one of our attorneys about getting a special needs trust.