Common Questions About Supplemental Needs Trusts

Supplemental needs trusts in PA serve a specific and important purpose: to provide for someone with a physical or mental disability after the death of a parent or another loved one.

Here are some common questions we hear about these trusts:

1. Who can create supplemental needs trusts in PA?

These trusts – which are also referred to as special needs trusts –are typically set up by a parent, grandparent or legal guardian, although siblings or other relatives can establish a trust as well. In some cases, a judge can create an SNT for a person with a disability.

2. Can’t I just leave my child money in my will?

Having a child with a disability complicates matters when it comes to leaving behind your assets. That child may qualify for certain government benefits, such as Medicaid or Social Security Income. A sudden infusion of cash may disqualify them from receiving government benefits. Supplemental needs trusts in PA protect those benefits while also giving your child a financial safety net.

3. How will the child use the trust?

The trust can be used for many different things that your child might want or need: recreational expenses such as sports and vacations or intellectual pursuits such as college courses, or even counseling or medical services that may not be covered by insurance. Supplemental needs trusts in PA are not meant to provide for basic needs, although the trustee can decide to use the trust that way if they feel it’s in the beneficiary’s best interest.

4. Who will act as the trustee?

The keyword here is “trust.” Who do you trust to make decisions for how your child will spend the money. It can be you or your spouse, or you can designate a professional trustee.

Like a lot of legal matters, setting up supplemental needs trusts can be a complex process, one that an attorney might be able to help you with. If you have questions about creating supplemental needs trusts in PA, contact Newman Elder Law.

Our experts can help you properly craft the trust to fit your loved ones’ needs. We’ll make sure your child is protected long after you’re gone.

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