By Linda T. Cammuso:

We are pleased to bring you the following news of the recent changes to special needs trust law.

On December 13, 2016, President Obama signed the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act into law as part of the 21st Century Cures Act, effectively ending years of unfair treatment of individuals with disabilities. Passage of this legislation is due, in large part, to the advocacy initiatives of the Special Needs Alliance and National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.

Mentally capable individuals with disabilities may now establish and fund their own first-party special needs trusts (aka self-settled SNT), bypassing the need for family members or the court to do so for them. Prior to enactment of this new law, individuals with disabilities who didn’t have a living parent, grandparent or legal guardian could not create their own self-settled SNT without going to court.

Special needs trusts can play an important role in preserving the financial security and independence of a person with special needs. A properly drafted and administered first-party trust allows the individual to set up and fund the trust with their own assets without affecting their eligibility for means-tested programs such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Because each person’s situation differs, it is best to consult with an attorney who specializes in estate planning for special needs.

To read more about estate planning for your special needs loved one please click on:

Ignoring Special Needs Planning Puts Your Loved One at Risk

Including Your Special Needs Child in Your Estate Plan

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