In general trusts are created to manage assets and special needs trusts are specifically designed to address situations faced by those who are disabled or mentally ill. Since the beneficiaries of these special needs trusts lack the capacity to manage their own finances and affairs, a trust is created to assist in managing their assets and protecting their government assistance. The trustee, or person who manages the trust for the benefit of the beneficiary, may be a trustworthy family member or it may be a neutral third party appointed by the court.
There are two primary objectives with a special needs trust and those are first, to manage finances and second to obtain government assistance for which the beneficiary may qualify.
Since both Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) have strict requirements in regards to income and assets, a special needs trust can help the beneficiary qualify for these services. An experienced attorney can provide a more thorough evaluation based on your particular facts.