The limitations on ABLE accounts can present families with a big dilemma if:

  • The account-holder is under 26 years of age and requires substantial funds to live independently or healthily.
  • The account-holder needs intensive or long-term care that will cost more than $15,000 per year.
  • The account-holder’s main guardian wants to leave a large inheritance that will take care of their loved one’s needs for life.

People who have needs beyond what an ABLE account can offer may want to consider establishing a special needs trust. While special needs trusts cannot be managed by the disabled person—they must be administered by a trustee—they provide similar tax advantages and can be used to save larger amounts of money for short- or long-term care.

Often, a special needs trust can be coupled with an ABLE account. This strategy ensures that a person with special needs has access to their own independent account, while keeping a reserve for their long-term care.

An estate planning attorney can help you decide whether you need an ABLE account, a special needs trust, or both.


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