Understanding Special Needs Trusts

Jun 7, 2022 | Special Needs Trust

Managing uncertainties that come with caring for a loved one with a disability can be financially and emotionally taxing. Persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities may be eligible for critical assistance through means-tested public benefits. However, if the individual has accessible funds, he or she can lose that assistance or fail to qualify. A Special Needs Trust (SNT) allows those funds to benefit the individual and supplement means-tested public benefits (e.g., Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Medicaid) while maintaining the integrity of the capital.

As millions of American families raise children with intellectual, developmental, and physical disabilities, Special Needs Trusts have become incredibly important in wealth management and financial planning. These trusts help give families peace of mind that their well-intended funds benefit their loved one in a meaningful way without jeopardizing the means-tested public benefits they might receive.

Due to the complex nature of Special Needs Trusts, it is essential to have an experienced team of trusted professional advisors (e.g., estate planning attorney, corporate trustee, financial advisor, accountant) to aid in the planning and execution of these trusts and ensure all necessary legal and fundamental components for the SNT are met. It is important to work with an estate planning attorney to create a specialized trust document tailored to the specific needs of the beneficiary and his or her family. The document is typically meant to be broad to attain a wide range of benefits, while also being specific enough to work with the beneficiary’s situation.

Engaging a corporate trustee to administer a Special Needs Trust can make certain there are funds and a team of caring professionals to manage the critical day-to-day needs of beneficiaries with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Administering a Special Needs Trust requires an elevated level of attention and support that goes beyond the basic duties of traditional trust administration. While many trust companies do not have the flexibility to effectively manage the hands-on, nurturing work that goes into Special Needs Trusts, Cumberland Trust has a dedicated nine-person team committed to this area of trust administration. Each team member strives to understand the unique circumstances of each beneficiary with whom they work and provide high level service and support to our clients.

Cumberland Trust focuses on the families we serve rather than investment management—giving us the opportunity to excel in both traditional and Special Needs Trust administration. Whatever your goals, Cumberland Trust’s dedicated professionals are committed to providing you and your family with the expertise, unbiased support, and consistency you deserve. We are uniquely positioned to help you preserve and protect your family’s wealth and legacy for future generations.