In its report on the testimony, The (Jackson, MS) Clarion-Ledger‘s “Courtney testifies before Congress on behalf of persons with disabilities,” said that, at present, special needs trusts funded with assets of an individual with disabilities must be created for that individual by his or her parent, grandparent, legal guardian or a court. Because of this requirement, adults with no living parents or grandparents and no guardian are forced to petition the court to create a special needs trust.

Courtney based his remarks on both his professional experience as a special needs and elder law attorney, as well as his experience as the father of a daughter with cerebral palsy and learning disabilities. Speaking of daughter Melanie, he noted that she needs and is receiving attendant care under a Medicaid waiver program. Because the cost of her care and services is expensive, she must rely on programs such as Medicaid, as do many persons with disabilities.

Right now the law says that she can’t create her own trust if she were to receive an inheritance or settlement-so she could forfeit her Medicaid waiver benefits that pay her attendant to her each day for a few hours.

An SNT would allow Melanie to pay for additional health care that’s not covered by Medicaid, in addition to basics like clothing, transportation, and furniture.

Talk with an elder law and special needs attorney if you have questions about SNTs.

Philip J. Kavesh
Nationally recognized attorney helping clients with customized estate planning guidance for over 40 years.
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