Special Needs Trusts

(Also known as Supplemental Needs Trusts)

A Special Needs Trust is a planning tool that allows for asset protection without losing eligibility for asset-tested benefit programs, including SSI cash benefits and many state Medicaid programs that provide in-home caregiver benefits and coverage for care in long-term care settings.  When you contact Macey-Cushman & Reilly about Special Needs Trust planning, we do not just draft trust documents; we help our clients explore all of their options, decide on a trust that fits their needs (or explore other options if appropriate), and help our clients understand how these trusts work over the long-term.

First-Party Special Needs Trusts 

When a person with a disability receives an inheritance, settlement, or other lump sum, they may fear losing eligibility for vital benefits that support their well-being and independence.  These may include SSI cash benefits and/or Medicaid healthcare coverage. Our attorneys understand these concerns and can explain the options, which may include a First-Party Special Needs Trust.  

In other situations, a person with a disability may be ready to apply for benefits and find that their savings exceed the program’s asset limit.  This is an opportunity to consider a First-Party Special Needs Trust, along with other alternatives for managing assets.

If you are concerned that a lump sum or other savings may make you ineligible for important disability benefits, the attorneys at Macey-Cushman & Reilly are available to help. 

For Attorneys: We are available to consult with you and/or your client for specialized guidance about settlement and inheritance planning.  For cases involving a minor or a person without legal capacity for decision-making, we are available to draft court-established trusts.

Third-Party Special Needs Trusts

Making a gift to someone with a disability can have the unintended consequence of making them ineligible for important benefits that support their well-being and independence.  By planning ahead, you can direct gifts (during your lifetime or through your estate plan) to a Third-Party Special Needs Trust designed to supplement and not replace the benefits they receive or may receive in the future.  

For Third-Party Special Needs Trusts, we start by learning about your goals and concerns.  We help you make an informed choice so that your gift provides the maximum benefit to your loved one.

For Attorneys: We are available to consult with you and/or your client for specialized guidance about gifts and bequests to loved ones with disabilities.  Depending on the case, we may be able to advise you directly, collaborate as a team, or work directly with the client to provide specialized guidance about benefits and Special Needs Trust Planning. 

 Trustee Consultation

If you have been appointed to serve as the Trustee of a Special Needs Trust, you may have questions about how to use the trust’s funds the right way.  We offer specialized consultation services for Trustees to avoid mistakes that can impact a beneficiary’s benefits.  We also help amend existing trusts when needed in order to comply with evolving Special Needs Trust rules.  Contact our office to learn more about these services.