Different Trusts for Different Needs

There are two types of special needs trust:  first-party and third-party. The first-party special needs trust is set up directly with adults who accumulate assets before the onset of a disability or after qualifying for Medi-Cal or SSI benefits.  This could be an inheritance or receives a court settlement. The third-party special needs trust is more common and are typically set up by parents to benefit their special needs child. 

How a first-party SNT differs from a third-party SNT is the following:

  • The trust for a minor must be established by a parent, grandparent, guardian or the court.
  • The trust must be "irrevocable," that is, unchangeable.
  • The beneficiary's assets must be used to fund the trust.
  • The beneficiary must be under age 65 at the time the trust is established.
  • At the beneficiary's death, the state Medicaid agency must be reimbursed.

Overall, a properly drafted special needs trust takes expert help to protect a beneficiary’s future needs.  We are here to help! Our attorneys understand the complexity involved and how strict the rules are. Social Security makes frequent changes to those already complex rules and we understand you will need to keep in touch with us over the years to best manage your trust. Our close attention to detail is essential with this type of estate planning.  We are foremost experts in special needs trust planning and will guide you and your family through all of it.


Schedule your strategy session today to learn more about what special needs trust is right for you with respect to Medi-Cal and SSI benefits and other available legal options. Call our Redlands office.