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By: Sipi Gupta | May 25, 2017

Trustees of special needs trusts wear many hats. They act as investment manager, bookkeeper, distribution manager, benefits advocate, and financial planner. Often trustees are in constant communication with the beneficiary and the beneficiary’s caregivers regarding many aspects of the beneficiary’s life such as approving distributions for the purchase of a vehicle or even the purchase of a home.

This level of involvement can be confusing for beneficiaries and their families, who may be under the impression that the trustee has the decision-making power in all aspects of a beneficiary’s life. If a trustee can approve or reject the proposed purchase price of a home for the beneficiary, can’t they also decide where the beneficiary lives? In gen...

By: Sipi Gupta | February 14, 2017

Some trust beneficiaries have trouble with walking or with feeding themselves. Others have no trouble with these activities, but their disability can severely cloud their judgment. For these beneficiaries, trusts must be carefully structured with close coordination between families, trustees, and caregivers.

Because the majority of psychiatric care now takes place in the community at less cost than the care provided in hospitals, the goal of the special needs trust should be to assist the beneficiary in obtaining community services tailored towards his specific mental illness. This process starts with the choice of trustee. It is strongly recommended that family members not serve as trustees, but instead move towards the background and away ...