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More Than 40 Years Of Legal Service To The Baton Rouge Region

3 factors to consider when choosing a special needs trust trustee

On Behalf of | Apr 29, 2024 | Estate Planning |

Baton Rouge Legal Blog

A special needs trust (SNT) can be a valuable tool for safeguarding the financial future of a loved one with disabilities. As such, the choice of a trustee for the SNT is crucial as it determines how effectively the trust assets will be managed and disbursed to meet the unique needs of the beneficiary.

When choosing a trustee for a special needs trust, the following factors should be carefully considered to better ensure the trust is managed in the best interest of the beneficiary.

1.Financial responsibility

An SNT trustee should ideally have a demonstrated track record of financial responsibility and prudence. This includes the ability to make sound investment decisions, manage assets wisely and maintain accurate records of all financial transactions related to the trust. A trustee with a strong understanding of fiduciary duties and a commitment to acting in the beneficiary’s best interests will help ensure that the trust funds are preserved and utilized judiciously to meet the beneficiary’s ongoing needs while safeguarding their eligibility for government benefits.

2. Availability

The trustee should be able to commit time and attention to effectively administer the special needs trust. This involves being available to communicate with the beneficiary, their caregivers and other stakeholders as well as attending to administrative tasks such as reviewing and approving disbursements, managing investments and ensuring compliance with relevant legal and regulatory requirements.

3. Understanding of public benefit programs

Individuals with disabilities are often reliant on various public benefit programs for essential services and support. Therefore, it’s crucial for the trustee of a special needs trust to have a comprehensive understanding of these programs, including Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and other relevant benefits. This knowledge enables the trustee to navigate the complex eligibility criteria and rules governing these programs, better ensuring that trust disbursements are structured in a way that preserves the beneficiary’s access to essential benefits.

Consider seeking legal guidance to help ensure trustees are selected in accordance with laws, enhancing their ability to fulfill duties effectively and comply with regulations.