Special Needs Trust Fairness Act Reintroduced

Special Needs Trust Fairness Act Reintroduced

Although the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act did not pass in the last federal legislative session, it has been introduced again to overcome the present legal presumption that all disabled persons lack sufficient mental capacity to handle their own assets.

As a result of a law passed federally in 1993 (which is still current law), only a parent, grandparent, legal guardian of the disabled person, or court can establish a special needs trust – even if the disabled person has mental capacity. This is particularly important for those under 65 who have either inherited or been awarded a judgment as a result of a lawsuit. Since Medicaid is generally “means-tested”, (a single person can only have $2,000 of countable resources), it is important for many disabled persons to establish such a trust to have a quality of life since the trust assets do not count as a resource for Medicaid purposes. Special needs trusts are often used to help with costs of living not covered by government programs.

The Special Needs Fairness Act allows those who are disabled but who have sufficient mental capacity to establish their own trust without incurring legal fees (such as court costs) as is usually presently needed. The bill has bipartisan support.


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