Special Needs Trust

Special Needs Trust in Utah

If you have a beneficiary who is disabled either mentally or physically, you need a special needs trust. A special needs trust is written so that the trust’s beneficiary can enjoy using the property held in the trust for his or her benefit, while simultaneously allowing the beneficiary to receive government benefits essential to their daily needs. There are also administrative advantages of using a special needs trust to hold and manage property intended for the benefit of the beneficiary if the beneficiary lacks capacity to handle their own financial affairs.

Having a child or family member with a disability requires special planning when planning your estate. The complexity of the government regulations required to receive government benefits requires an expert to help you through the process. While
the process is complicated to ensure your loved ones continue to receive their government benefits, it ispexels-photo not impossible and it is something we help our clients achieve consistently. Every family’s situation is unique which is why we offer free consultations to ensure everyone feels comfortable with the proper plan moving forward.

Special Needs Trust Attorney in Salt Lake City

According to both federal and state law, people with disabilities applying for benefits who have more than $2,000 in available assets are not eligible for public benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income. To receive benefits the applicant must go through a means test by the government to determine whether an individual is eligible for public assistance based on either their income and/or their assets. Typically people with disabilities with assets more than $2,000 must spend down their assets before they can apply and receive public benefits.

Special needs trusts are different than a traditional revocable living trust because with a traditional trust, like a revocable living trust, the beneficiary assets will be counted as income and may prevent the disabled person from qualifying for their public benefits. Special Needs Trusts are possible due to a statute under the Medicaid law, the statute allows assets in a Special Needs Trust to not be counted as income under Medicaid rules, and the assets in a Special Needs Trust will not affect the beneficiary’s ability to receive public benefits.

Special Needs Trusts in South Jordan, Draper, and Salt Lake City

Funds can be left to your disabled child by establishing a special needs trust which will ensure that your child can continue to receive their government benefits. The long-term needs of your child will probably be very expensive, and most estates will not be able to provide for your child’s needs. The main benefit of a special needs trust is that it can provide benefits beyond what the government will provide. The trustee’s responsibility is to upgrade the beneficiary’s quality of life beyond their basic needs such as food and shelter. Generally there are five restrictions on a Special Needs Trusts. First, the trust must be irrevocable; second, the funds can only be spent for the sole benefit of the beneficiary; third, depending on the type of benefit being received there may be restrictions on what expenses the Special Needs Trust can pay for; fourth, the funds cannot be paid directly to the beneficiary; and fifth, the beneficiary must be disabled as defined by the social security administration.


Because of all these potential pitfalls an estate plan should be custom-built for you and it is important to do things correctly the first time around. Feel free to contact us to set up a free consultation or simply to ask some clarifying questions.