Attorneys Helping Elders and Special Needs Clients

A Special Needs Trust (SNT) can be the right tool to help ensure your client’s quality of life in the long term. SNTs help families ensure that a loved one with disabilities can access public benefits, such as Medicaid and SSI—while providing funds that can be used to enrich the individual’s life over the long term.

For some families, a pooled SNT is the right solution. These trusts are considered “pooled” because individual beneficiaries’ accounts are invested together—which reduces administrative costs and overhead for each beneficiary. In addition, federal law requires that the non-profit organization administering a Pooled SNT serve as the trustee.

Those two factors can be particularly helpful for clients with relatively limited financial resources and those whose family members cannot—or choose not to—serve as the trustee of a stand-alone SNT.

Which approach—individual or pooled SNT—is best for your client? The answer probably rests in comparing the answers to these seven questions for each kind of trust:

  • How much will it cost at the outset to create the SNT?
  • What are the annual costs for managing the trust?
  • Who will provide professional investment services for the trust’s assets?
  • What is the minimum amount required to fund the trust?
  • Do you want a professional trustee to assume responsibility for the trust or do you prefer that friend or family member serve as a trustee?
  • Will there be a social worker or other experienced professional to provide guidance on how to use the funds (and how the funds may not legally be used)?
  • Who will assistance the trust’s beneficiary in identifying needed services and paying the bills?

PLAN offers two pooled SNT options:

A first-party trust, established and funded by individuals with disabilities to benefit themselves.

A third-party trust, established by family or friends to benefit an individual with disabilities. (A notable benefit of the third-party trust is that it can be established and funded immediately and/or funded in the future—with, for example, a life insurance payout.)

PLAN is a non-profit organization that is uniquely qualified to serve elders and individuals with disabilities:

We have decades of experience—we’re enduring, stable, reliable, and responsive.

We have deep knowledge and expertise in serving as trustee.

Our Service Coordinators—all licensed social workers; all proficient in the rules governing trust disbursements—provide caring, personalized assistance to each beneficiary.

The PLAN Executive Director—an attorney, herself— and the entire organization are highly regarded by Massachusetts and Rhode Island lawyers for their experience, knowledge, professionalism, and responsiveness.

PLAN is also noted for being one of the only Pooled SNT sponsors who employ a veteran team of social-work licensed Service Coordinators; these dedicated women and men work directly with families and beneficiaries to ensure that distributions from the trust are in accord with federal and state law and always in the best interest of the beneficiary.

To learn more about PLAN of MA and RI, including our mission and history, go to Who We Are

To find more specific information about our pooled SNTs and how we work with beneficiaries, go to What We DoFrequently-Asked-Questions

To get detailed information about how to establish a trustee account with PLAN, go to Information Guides; you will find the specific documents necessary to establish a PLAN pooled SNT in the Documents for Attorney Completion section of our Information Guide

To ask questions specific to your client’s situation, or to schedule a no-cost informational meeting for you and/or your client, go to Contact Us