Whatever your family’s financial goals, it’s important to have the peace of mind that your assets are properly managed.
In the United States, nearly 19 percent of the population lives with a disability, and almost five percent of those aged 6 years and older need assistance with activities of daily living. Many of these adults are unable to work or their earning capacity has been severely diminished.
To provide for your loved ones living with a disability, a Special Needs Trust offers both immediate and long-term support. With a Special Needs Trust, Wells Fargo Private Bank can help:
- Meet cash flow needs now and in the future through prudent management of trust assets, from an out-of-court settlement, a court award, provision from a loved one’s will, or other source.
- Preserve government benefits by enabling your loved one to maintain access to public assistance. A Special Needs Trust is the only option that allows the beneficiary of the trust to use trust funds to pay for quality-of-life activities and still potentially qualify for Supplemental Security Income, Medicaid, and other state and federal programs.
- Add to the richness of life by using assets within the trust for recreation, education, and custom-living arrangements.
Wells Fargo Special Needs Trust Services can also work with other trusts established through legal settlements, or those established to provide for an individual's medical needs. These individuals may include minors, incapacitated persons, young adults, and those considered at risk for financial abuse.
Assistance for managing a Special Needs Trust
Beyond investing and managing trust fund assets, we can help you find an attorney to draft your Special Needs Trust documents; locate a case manager or caregiver; research recreational, social, and educational opportunities; purchase accessible vehicles; and make necessary modifications to your living space.
Over the long term, our Special Needs Trust professionals provide continuous support for those living with a disability, and help them address the challenges they face. You will have a direct and personal relationship with a specialist, backed by the support of our professional trust team. You will receive the personal attention you need, combined with the experience and commitment to detail you expect.
Funding a Special Needs Trust
Special Needs Trusts are typically funded by money from a personal injury lawsuit settlement, a gift, or inheritance.
Personal injury settlements
After a personal injury lawsuit is settled, funds may be distributed through a conservatorship, guardianship, or through these common settlement options:
- Lump-sum payments: You or your loved one receives a financial award and is responsible for managing it. Someone receiving a lump-sum payment likely will not qualify for government benefits.
- Structured settlement annuities: A settlement is paid to one or more insurance companies in return for a fixed income, usually for an individual’s lifetime. Someone who has received a structured settlement annuity will likely not qualify for means-tested government benefits unless the payments are made into a Special Needs Trust.
- Special Needs Trust: A settlement is paid into a trust account where the funds can be professionally managed. The trustee has the flexibility to distribute funds based on the beneficiary’s actual income needs.
Gifts or inheritance
Special Needs Trusts funded through gifts or inheritance are sometimes referred to as third-party trusts. Typically, a parent or grandparent leaves funds in his or her will to benefit a family member living with a disability.
This type of trust protects the ability to qualify for means-tested benefits such as Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid. However, there may be liens on the trust when the beneficiary passes.