7. What is a Special Needs Trust?
Special Needs Trusts are discretionary spending arrangements set up for disabled or incapacitated individuals, or those with lesser medical issues who are unlikely to become employed and have no independent resources. This is a way to leave a protected inheritance in order to pay for “extras” not covered by government programs for which the beneficiaries are otherwise eligible. These extras may include, for example, additional medical treatments and other therapy, follow-up training, cultural activities, travel, specialized equipment, computers and other electronics, books and music, furnishings and clothing.
Typically, family members establish SNTs to ensure that even if the parents or other responsible people are no longer there to personally see to the comfort of the beneficiary, there will be resources available, and appropriate (personal) trustees to manage them.
After an SNT is opened, others can also contribute. This is a more organized approach than bequeathing money for the individual to other relatives, hoping that it is deployed properly, perhaps many years hence.