SPECIAL NEEDS TRUST
Things Every Parent With A Special Needs Child/Adult Should Know
* I will refer to the special needs child/adult as “Jason”.
1. ABLE accounts.
What: This is a new account available to Jason.
Purpose: Money for Jason’s education, housing, assistive technology, personal support services, employment training, transportation and health.
Caveat: Arizona HAS NOT yet authorized the establishment of ABLE accounts. (April 2016)
2. Third Party Special Needs Trust.
What: A Trust for Jason that will get money when you pass away. It will not negatively impact Jason’s ability to receive governmental benefits. The Third Party Special Needs Trust is usually put together when you put together your estate planning documents.
The Name: It is called a Third Party Special Needs Trust because you, not Jason, will be putting money into it. It is also known as a Supplemental Needs Trust.
Purpose: The Third Party Special Needs Trust is designed to provide Jason with the extras in life, while his governmental benefits provide for the necessities of life.
A Third Party Special Needs Trust and an ABLE account can both exist for Jason.
Who: Someone or a company that knows how to manage a Special Needs Trust.
Duties: To make sure that Jason’s benefits continue even though the Special Needs Trust exists. A mistake could cost Jason his benefits.
Suggestion: Name someone to watch over Jason and someone else to actually manage the Special Needs Trust.
4. Look Back.
You may have heard of the look back provisions for purposes of qualifying for governmental benefits.
Let’s say you file an application for benefits, for Jason, on January 1, 2015.
The look back period is 5 years, back to January 1, 2010.
The day the application is filed determines the date for look back purposes.
Would you like to learn more about special needs trusts? Take a look at my blog for more on this subject.