Special Needs Trust Expert Planning

Expert Planning for Special Needs Trusts (SNTs)

Our experience managing investments for Special Needs Trusts gives us unique insights into both private and court-supervised SNTs.

We’re here to support you, the trustee, from the very beginning. Through our existing connections, we can help you find attorneys to draft the trust. We can also collaborate with your existing financial team and/or connect you to other needed resources, such as accounting, healthcare, Medicare compliance, or fiduciary support services.

Why Create a Special Needs Trust

A Special Needs Trust (SNT) is an excellent way for beneficiaries with disabilities to enjoy the benefit of trust assets while still maintaining eligibility for essential needs-based government benefits. An irrevocable SNT can preserve benefits while providing asset protection and administrative advantages to minors and individuals who lack the legal capacity to handle their own financial affairs.

An SNT is often established following a personal injury or medical malpractice settlement. It’s designed to compensate the injured party and provide financial resources to last a lifetime. During settlement discussions, we work with attorneys and trustees to determine the optimal allocation between a structured settlement and a cash settlement. 

Using a life care plan, we’re able to model financial needs while taking into account inflation, anticipated future needs, and fluctuating market returns.

Trustees and the UPIA

Trustees have a legal obligation to invest SNT assets according to the Uniform Prudent Investor Act (UPIA). The UPIA is a uniform trust and probate law enacted by almost all states. We understand that the liability you, as the trustee, assume is substantial and often not well-known.

Our advisors are instructors in the Trustee Certification Program at California State University, Fullerton, so we understand the UPIA and how it applies to trustees. Our entire investment process is built around the UPIA and supporting fiduciaries. Our portfolios for Special Needs Trusts are built for diversification, and our ongoing reviews are set up to help you stay compliant with the UPIA requirements to monitor returns, risk, and diversification.

Unique Beneficiary Needs

The nature of a Special Needs Trust means that the needs of the beneficiary can be substantial. Taxation of SNT disbursements varies depending on the SNT’s structure. 

Whereas first-party trusts are taxed at the grantor level, third-party trusts are taxed at the trust level. Understanding these differences is key in optimizing the tax efficiency of investments. Our history and expertise in working with SNTs allows us to manage SNT’s investments in a tax-sensitive manner.

Our years of collaboration with fiduciaries and attorneys have cultivated a sensitivity to the concerns, fears, and vulnerabilities of SNT beneficiaries. We consider it a privilege to assist trustees in maintaining and enhancing the beneficiary’s quality of life.