If someone has asked you to act as a special needs trustee, you may have little or no idea what the job entails. You also may wonder whether you have the skills and time that are necessary to do the job successfully. These concerns are common with first-time trustees.
Being a special needs trustee can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience, but it is not something you should take lightly. Here is a general overview of special needs trusts and the responsibilities of a special needs trustee.
What is a special needs trust?
According to USA.gov, there are many valuable benefits available to individuals who cannot work because of their disabilities or other special needs. To qualify for these benefits, though, a person typically cannot have too many assets or too much income.
A special needs trust is a unique estate planning tool that allows someone to set aside funds to benefit someone else without jeopardizing the beneficiary’s eligibility for means-tested government benefits.
What does a special needs trustee do?
If you agree to be a special needs trustee, you must complete many different tasks. These include the following:
- Keeping comprehensive records
- Preparing regular reports
- Investing funds from the trust
- Ensuring payments from the trust do not endanger public benefits
- Approving disbursements
It is important to note that you do not necessarily have to complete all of these tasks on your own. Indeed, it is usually possible for special needs trustees to outsource some duties to accountants, tax professionals, lawyers or others. Nevertheless, you should have enough of a grasp of each duty to ensure its proper completion.
Ultimately, if you have any reservations about serving as a special needs trustee, you may want to talk to an attorney before agreeing to do so.