Congress finally passed the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act and the President signed it into law on December 13, 2016. The most important part of the bill is that it allows individuals with disabilities, who have capacity, to create their own Special Needs Trusts (SNT).
Individuals with disabilities often require public assistance to help pay the enormous costs of their long-term services and support. In order to supplement the costs not covered by government programs, and to avoid losing any assets these individuals do have, federal law has permitted these individuals to utilize a SNT. Until now, the law required a parent, grandparent, legal guardian or a court – not the individual – to establish the SNT. This resulted in deeming all disabled individuals incapable of handling their own affairs. In addition, if individuals no longer had living grandparents or parents, they were required to pay the costs to petition the court to have legal guardian appointed or create the SNT.
With the President’s signing of this bill into law our disabled competent friends have now achieved a greater amount of independence to protect more of their funds to supplement their expenses without incurring additional expenses and/or delays. Congratulations!