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By: Sipi Gupta | August 30, 2019

Serving as a trustee requires administrative and technical skills in addition to strong interpersonal communication skills. Identifying the appropriate trustee is difficult in general; a Special Needs Trust (SNT) presents additional challenges. While most families will name a relative to serve as the trustee of their family’s SNT, they are often unaware of the specialized knowledge needed to succeed in the role. In many cases, it makes sense to have a family member involved in some capacity in the care of the individual with special needs. Another option is to select a professional trustee with specialized skills to serve as the trustee or co-trustee.

Ideal Qualities for a Trustee

In considering trustees to name for your SNT, evaluate your al...

By: Sipi Gupta | May 22, 2017

A special needs trust cannot pay for food or shelter for an SSI beneficiary without affecting his benefits. But there is no penalty for paying for someone’s food or shelter while they are on SSDI. And if the SSDI beneficiary receives Medicare, there is no penalty there, either.

By: Sipi Gupta | May 16, 2017

I live in one state and my daughter lives in a group home in neighboring state.  Where should I establish a special needs trust for her benefit?

While the trust can probably be established in either state, your final choice of location may depend on where the trustee lives and what state provides Medicaid benefits for your daughter.  Regardless of where the trust is situated, if your daughter lives in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, please call us at 215-650-7017 to review the trust to make sure that it complies with local Medicaid rules.

By: Sipi Gupta | May 01, 2017

Yes, but be aware that a co-trustee can be held responsible for another co-trustee’s breach of a fiduciary duty. Thus, it is important that all co-trustees pay close attention to everything that is done in the administration of the trust. If there is any question or problem, it should be communicated to the other co-trustee or co-trustees immediately. As a general rule, where there are two or more co-trustees, all have to agree on all matters of trust administration. However, the trust document may create a different standard for agreement, such as majority rule. In order to minimize the chances of being held responsible for someone else’s poor judgment or breach of duty, a co-trustee should be sure to make a written record of any points of...

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 ...