Special Needs Trusts

The purpose of any special needs trust is to maximize all available resources for the benefit of an individual with disabilities. The objective is to allow the beneficiary of the trust to become or remain eligible for means-tested public benefits like Medicaid (MaineCare) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The public benefits provide for the individual's basic needs like food, shelter, and medical care. The assets held in the special needs trust supplement - rather than supplant - the government benefits and provide goods and services to improve the quality of life for the individual with disabilities.

The following articles introduce three types of special needs trusts: the third party special needs trust, the self-settled (d)(4)(A) trust, and the self-settled (d)(4)(C) trust.

When the Maine Elder Law Firm is contacted by a professional or an individual who thinks a special needs trust may be appropriate in a particular matter, we often offer this Checklist for Suitability of Special Needs Trusts.

For more information about special needs trusts, please refer to the Resources and Articles available on the Website of the Special Needs Alliance (SNA). And if you are an individual with disabilities, someone who cares for an individual with disabilities, a Trustee of a special needs trust, or a professional who advises them, consider signing up to receive The Voice which is the SNA’s newsletter. Current and past issues of The Voice are available online.

On the SNA website, you can also find and download Administering Special Needs Trusts: A Handbook for Trustees.