People living with a disability usually face significant financial and quality of life challenges. Watch how one family works with Special Needs Trust Services to help make life easier.

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Transcript: The Essentials of Specialized Wealth Services: Special Needs Trust Services

(Opening Music)

Allison: It's nice that the Special Needs Trust has that and will protect her.

VOICEOVER: Allison Bren Ferris, National Manager of Special Needs Trust Services, focuses on protecting client's assets. And that protection is invaluable to Linda Anderson, whose daughter Mari has a Special Needs Trust.

Linda: Mari was an amazing girl before the accident, not that she's not an amazing girl now. But she was a gift to us. I had her when I was 42 years old and she was perfect, absolutely perfect. So funny, athletic, intelligent, and the love of our lives. We didn't think that she would go anywhere but straight up to upper education and in 2005, we were leaving her daycare and went out into the intersection, went on the green light and were hit almost immediately by a drunk driver, T-boned into her car. Leaving her severely, severely brain damaged.

VOICEOVER: Today, Mari is receiving the support she needs.

(NATSOT) Linda: It's a majorly silly day. Mari: Daddy riding the escalators. Linda: Daddy riding escalators.

Allison: Her injuries were really catastrophic and Mari sadly will never, ever regain all of her total abilities that she had. But, she'll always need help and the good thing is the trust will be there even after her family isn't, to help her have the highest quality of life she can. Mari's funds came from a personal injury settlement. These trust funds are distributed when Mari has supplemental needs that aren't covered by public benefits or other insurance, and this is fairly typical of the Special Needs Trust we have at Wells Fargo.

VOICEOVER: For people living with a disability, there are almost always significant financial challenges, and the funds in an SNT can work together with public benefits to meet the person's needs.

Aurora: The key aspect that differentiates a Special Needs Trust is that it preserves the client's ability to access many needs-based public benefits that they otherwise would not qualify for. The special needs trust is designed to supplement and provide for the client's needs that are not taken care of by those basic benefit programs. The trust might pay for items such as emotional support and therapy animals, extra companion care, accessible vehicles with ramps and wheelchair lifts, assistive technology devices, and modification to a person's home such as therapy pools, ramps, and accessible showers. We try to be creative and collaborative in thinking about distributions that can make someone's life better. We've helped clients purchase aquariums, take dream trips to amusement parks, and purchase all-terrain wheelchairs.

VOICEOVER: The trust pays for Mari's specialized day care and educational items like her iPad.

(NATSOT) Linda: Say ‘Hi kitty'. Mari: Hi kitty.

Linda: Allison is our guardian angel. I have so much on my plate. I have so many people medically, legally, educationally to meet with. Allison and company really take care of that for us, and they've never let us down.

Aurora: The fiduciary duty of a trustee is one of the highest duties that there is. And administering a SNT is a significant responsibility, so having a professional who's trained and able to avoid the potential pitfalls around administering SNTs is really helpful for the clients and for their family. When a family's doing estate planning and names Wells Fargo as trustee of an SNT, or a personal injury attorney suggests Wells Fargo as a trustee of an SNT that will hold a settlement, they can be sure that we will do our best to take care of the beneficiary and manage their trust well.

Lisa: Thank God, you know?

(NATSOT) Lisa: Go, go, go, let's go march them two by two

Lisa: So it's reassuring to have them handling Mari's money, that it's reassuring that they thought well enough to have a division for Special Needs Trust, and well-staffed with people who know what they're doing.

Allison: It's really neat to have a job where you're making those personal connections and having personal relationships every day. And at the end of the day, you really feel as though you're connected to a community that helps you grow and helps you see a different aspect of the world than you would otherwise.