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A Trust for Disabled Individuals

A special needs trust, also known as a supplemental trust, is a legal document created by the family or guardians for the benefit of a disabled person who cannot manage their own finances. These trusts are designed to provide assets for the health and welfare of disabled individuals, often without jeopardizing government assistance such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid and other programs.


A grantor establishes a trust and can name a trustee who manages the trust’s assets and makes distributions for the benefit of the beneficiary, or disabled person. Because the trust owns the assets — not the beneficiary — distributions made through the trust are not considered part of the disabled person’s assets and will not put that person’s government aid at risk.

There are a couple of different ways to set up this trust, including one that uses the beneficiary’s assets and pays back Medicaid disbursements after death, so work with an attorney experienced with Medicaid planning and trusts.

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