Kevin Miller PC 405.443.5100


Special Needs Trust: What to know

Just as our parents have cared for us while we grow older, we care for them as they grow older. For adults under the age of 65 with a physical or mental disability, or with a chronic or acquired illness, a Special Needs Trust may be an effective estate planning tool. Read on to learn more about Special Needs Trust (SNT) and if it can be an option for your loved ones.

What is a Special Needs Trust?

A Supplement Needs Trust also known as a Special Needs Trust (SNT) can be an effective estate planning tool.

The SNT enables a person, under the age of 65, with a physical or mental disability or a person with a chronic or acquired illness, to have held in trust for his or her benefit an unlimited amount of assets. The disability is determined according to certain Social Security standards. A SNT trust must be established before the person’s 65th birthday.

The SNT can be funded by the disabled person’s own money (i.e. a first party SNT) or by money obtained from other sources (i.e. a third party SNT). Assets properly placed in a SNT are not considered countable assets for purposes of qualification for certain governmental benefits, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid, subsidized housing and other benefits based upon need.

A SNT provides for “supplemental and extra care over and above that which the government provides.” A SNT is designed to maintain government benefit eligibility, but to bring a better quality of life to the beneficiary. There are specific rules that say what the trust funds can and cannot be used for.

It is always wise to consult an experienced attorney regarding the use of a SNT, especially if the disabled person acquires funds via proceeds from a personal injury settlement, a request from a relative or friend, insurance proceeds or the like.

Benefits of a Special Needs Trust

A SNT is essential for your loved one’s long-term well-being and offers several benefits. Including but not limited to:

Individuals are still eligible to receive benefits provided by government programs.
The assets in the SNT can be used for a number of expenses not covered by the government benefit program.

Speak with an Attorney

Special Needs Trusts and the laws surrounding them can be significantly complex, so having an attorney who is experienced in this area is vital. It is always wise to consult an experienced attorney regarding the use of a SNT, especially if the disabled person receives funds as a result of an accident, tort settlement, lottery winning, inheritance, lump sum payment from Social Security benefits or some other source.

Kevin L. Miller, PC can help. Kevin has over 35 years of experience in helping Oklahoma families and individuals of all kinds.

He says, “My commitment to you is to listen, to help you determine your needs and goals, and to develop an estate plan tailored to meet your particular circumstance. You will be provided with a high level of personal service with an attention to all the details.”

If you have a disabled or chronically ill loved one in need of a Special Needs Trust, reach out to Kevin L. Miller, PC at (405) 443-5100.