Spotlight: Special Needs Trust Administration

Oct 10, 2018 | Special Needs Trust

As health care expenses rise in the U.S., so do the challenges faced by individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Managing uncertainties that come with caring for a loved one with a disability can be financially burdensome.

When a person with a disability receives an inheritance or a settlement from a lawsuit or divorce, he or she becomes ineligible for needs-based federal funding. This could make it nearly impossible for that individual to live comfortably while also getting the care he or she needs. Luckily, there is a solution for these cases: Special Needs Trusts (SNT).

Cumberland Trust is uniquely equipped to act as a partner and support system for the family and beneficiary under these conditions as we recognize the importance of SNTs for the families they serve. To highlight how we are a national leader in this space, we sat down with the Special Needs Trust Administration team. Cumberland Trust’s SNT reach has increased from managing about 20 trusts in 2006 to managing over 250 trusts across 38 states in 2018.

How Cumberland Trust makes a difference:

When Cumberland Trust is named the trustee of a SNT, we are in it for the long run and prepared to work through each complex situation as a stable source of support to the beneficiary and his or her family. Cumberland Trust recognizes that each family is unique. Our caring trust officers handle the day-to-day trust administration and partner with external vendors and the beneficiary’s family to support the beneficiary’s needs. These coordinated services may include housekeeping, dietary oversight, prescription management, coordination of transportation needs, bill pay management, and more.

Why SNTs are vitally important:

The SNT serves as a wrapper that goes around a regular trust, allowing the funds to benefit the person with a disability, while also protecting his or her eligibility for public benefits such as healthcare. The SNT can preserve and grow funds for future needs while allowing the beneficiary to receive the medical attention needed for a comfortable life today.

Why Cumberland Trust’s services are uniquely important today:

SNTs address an increasing need in our society. Twenty million U.S. families are raising children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, which are often caused by medical malpractice. As trustee of a SNT, Cumberland Trust does more than pay bills. We help navigate public benefits, coordinate the trust’s team of professionals, help plan for future goals and needs, and serve as a first point of contact for the beneficiary to address his or her needs.

Unfortunately, traditional fiduciaries often do not have the flexibility to manage SNTs and are beginning to end SNT administration offerings altogether because of the high level of service and attention that these trusts require. This is largely because they are not equipped to properly manage the hands-on, nurturing work that goes into SNTs. Since Cumberland Trust focuses on planning, relationships and people as opposed to money management, we embrace the opportunity to aid families who need that enhanced relationship.