Pooled Special Needs Trust
Special Needs Trusts offer an effective means to preserve the assets of individuals with special needs and provide funding for additional items and services beyond what is available through NC Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI); however, sometimes it is not practical to create a standalone Special Needs Trust. Management of trust assets can be a challenging task for a family member. While many trusts are managed by professional trustees such as those who work for banks, that type of management can be expensive.
Pooled trusts offer the perfect solution in many situations. At Brady Cobin Law Group, PLLC, we work with families to create a Special Needs Trust designed for the unique needs of everyone involved.
How a Trust Protects Individuals with Special Needs
Those with special needs often depend on government benefits such as SSI and NC Medicaid. To be eligible for benefits through these programs, you must demonstrate that you have very few available assets and very little income.
If an individual with special needs receives money from family or a lawsuit, they could lose eligibility for the benefits they rely on. If instead the money is put into a Special Needs Trust, then it technically no longer belongs to that individual and it is not counted against them for program eligibility. The trust can provide money to the special needs individual to provide for supplemental needs not covered by other benefits. For instance, funds from a Special Needs trust could allow an individual to buy a TV or take a trip to visit family.
What Makes a Pooled Trust Different from Other Special Needs Trusts
When a Special Needs Trust is pooled, the funds associated with that trust are combined with those of other trusts. A nonprofit organization manages this pool of assets, which is much more efficient than having multiple separate individuals manage each trust. Each trust beneficiary has their own sub-account with their principal amount and they generally receive a share of the earnings of the pooled funds.
Funds for a Pooled for a Special Needs Trust may come from a third party such parents or from the beneficiary’s own assets. Pooled trusts have to manage and distribute assets in accordance with Federal and North Carolina laws.
How a Special Needs Trust Operates
A trust is a legal entity, like a virtual container for holding property. The trustee manages the property in the trust, but it is not their property. Instead, they manage it for the good of the beneficiary. In a Pooled Special Needs Trust, the beneficiary is the individual with special needs. That individual gets money from the trust distributed by the trustee organization, but does not have direct access to or control over the trust assets. This preserves eligibility for government benefits and keeps the property safe from creditors.
An Estate Planning Attorney Can Help You Determine if a Pooled Special Needs Trust is Right for Your Situation
A Pooled Special Needs Trust may be the perfect tool to provide supplemental services and benefits for you or a loved one. However, other options may be a better fit for your situation.
At Brady Cobin Law Group, PLLC, we help clients determine their best options for trusts and other estate planning needs, and we set up arrangements to help protect clients’ interests both now and in the future. To learn more about how Pooled Special Needs Trusts or other vehicles could protect the future of your loved ones, contact us today.