History of PLAN
The origins of PLAN (Planned Lifetime Assistance Network) of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Inc., date back to May 1, 1961, when a group of concerned parents created the MARC Retardate Trust, a description that is currently viewed as dated. In 1961, however, this was a term used to describe people who may struggle with intellectual or behavioral challenges.
In 1964, the trust was formed to provide monitoring and advocacy for those in state operated schools/hospitals, which are now primarily closed. As more individuals with disabling conditions began living in their homes or in the community, MARC Trust expanded its role to provide monitoring and advocacy services to beneficiaries upon the death or disability of a caregiver. The Trust began as a safety-net for families who wished to ensure the comfort and longevity of their loved ones in the case of their passing, which is largely the mission of today. Individuals joined the MARC Retardate Trust by being a member of their local ARC chapter.
By March 1966, there were 30 members of the trust and approximately $18,000.00 in assets. Harold E. Trekell, Chair of the Trustees, of which there were nine members, presented at the United Cerebral Palsy Association’s Conference on Protective Services in Pennsylvania, November 1966. He described two grueling years of hard work leading up to initiating the trust, which by this time had 34 members and $23,000.00 in assets. He said, “Successful administration required competent and dedicated trustees,” and emphasized that the “role of the social worker was very important.”
The MARC Retardate Trust was incorporated on October 20, 1971, as a non-profit organization and recognized by the Internal Revenue Services as a charitable organization under Section 501©(3) of the Tax Code. The name was changed to MARC Trust, Incorporated, on November 16, 1987.
In August 1990, the ARC of Massachusetts submitted a proposal seeking $25,000.00 in grants and donations for the development of a ‘pooled investment trust.’ The pooled trust was a concept which MARC Trust sought to develop over several years through “Friendship Trusts,” which were administered through MARC Trust. The investment management was performed by the board and was limited to Certificates of Deposit.
The MARC Special Needs Pooled Trust (SNPT), established in 1995, is the oldest and largest pooled trust in Massachusetts. This pooled trust is funded with the assets of the individual with a disability and is also known as a “self-settled trust,” a “Medicaid payback trust,” or “(d)(4)(C) trust.”
PLAN adopted its current name when it became affiliated with the National PLAN Alliance (NPA) in 2003. PLAN has operated a Third-Party Special Needs Pooled Trust (‘Third Party Trust’) since 2005, which is created and funded by a third party (usually a family member) for the benefit of the person with a disability. This is not a Medicaid payback trust.
In April of 2015, PLAN was authorized to conduct business in the state of Rhode Island. Planned Lifetime Assistance Network of Massachusetts became Planned Lifetime Assistance Network of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Inc. PLAN will celebrate its 50th Anniversary of operation in 2021.
In sum, for 50 years, family members of individuals with special needs, or disabled individuals themselves, have turned to our non-profit special needs trust organization for assistance related to trusts and estates and special needs estate planning. We are proud and pleased that we’ve been – and continue to be – the organization to which individuals outreach when they have needs related to a special needs trust, a trust for an individual who is disabled, or a fiduciary trust.