A new estate planning tool – The Special Needs Trust Fairness Act was recently enacted into law. This law permits an individual in Massachusetts with a disability to create his or her own special needs trust under the Social Security Act.
Under prior law, only parents, grandparents, guardians or a court could create this type of trust.
These trusts are commonly funded with assets owned by the individual with a disability. They are useful in averting a spend down to obtain or retain eligibility for means tested government benefits such as Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid. Other elements of these trusts will not be changed by the new law, such as the requirement for a pay back provision to Medicaid agencies upon the death of the beneficiary, that the beneficiary be under the age of sixty-five years, and that the trust be for the sole benefit of the beneficiary with a disability.
The new law does not affect third party supplemental needs trusts which are funded with assets from parents and other third parties.
This is a great step forward not only in the law, but also in acknowledging the individuality and uniqueness of each person with special needs.
Should you be in the midst of a divorce or contemplating divorce contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar either through email or telephone 978-844-4095 to discuss estate planning options for your special needs child.