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Administering a Special Needs Trust

Free Trustee Handbook


A special needs trust can be a very powerful aid in managing care for a family member with a disability. It can provide supplemental items like therapy, respite care, dental work, companions, entertainment, education — all without interfering with the beneficiary’s SSI, Medicaid or other government programs. The special needs trust can be a flexible tool. It can also be very difficult and confusing to administer.

Have you been named as trustee of a special needs trust? Have you created a special needs trust, and wonder what the job of trustee is actually like? Are you a trust beneficiary, trying to figure out what the trustee is permitted — and required — to do? The Special Needs Alliance is pleased to offer its free booklet on administering special needs trusts. In plain English, it can help you understand the choices and obligations.

The resource includes information on:

    • Introduction and Definition of terms
    • Types of Trusts
    • How trusts are affected by Medicaid, Medicare subsidized housing etc.
    • Eligibility rules for means tested programs
    • Purchasing things using a trust
    • Loans, credit, debit and gift cards
    • Trust administration and accounting
    • Income taxation

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This resource created by Special Needs Alliance