Child With Special Needs

Special Needs Planning

Get care and preserve your assets.

Sometimes, estate planning involves protecting our beneficiaries either from themselves, future creditors, or protecting them so that they do not lose any government benefits that they would be receiving at the time they would inherit. An effective way to offer this protection is through a special needs trust.


The first is a “Self-settled” or a “First Party Special Needs Trust.” This type of trust is funded with the beneficiary’s (the person who has the special need) own money. A good example of this is where a beneficiary has been involved in a lawsuit and is now coming into a large court settlement amount which, is the money of the Special Needs Beneficiary. That money is used to create the trust. These types of trusts are created by a parent, guardian, grandparent or the court. Recently, the law was changed to allow the disabled person to create a First Party SNT for himself or herself, if competent to do so.

A third-party SNT (Special Needs Trust) is created using the funds of others to create a trust on one’s behalf. An example of this is when a parent creates a special needs trust within her or his will or trust. This type of trust will hold the money that the special needs person would have received as part of an inheritance from a parent. It is created upon the death of the parent as part of the parent’s estate plan. Anyone can contribute to a third-party SNT, thus allowing people other than parents to name the trust in their will or as a beneficiary.

There are pros and cons to each type of trust, and it is crucial that all aspects are discussed with an attorney when deciding to create one of these types of trusts.