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What does a special needs trustee do?

On Behalf of | Oct 10, 2022 | Estate planning |

Federal, state and local governments provide a comprehensive social safety net for individuals who cannot work because of disabilities or other special needs. Still, the benefits these programs dole out each month tend not to cover more than housing, food and basic medical care. They certainly do not pay for luxury items.

With a special needs trust, a person can receive public benefits while having access to money for quality-of-life enhancements. If you set up a special needs trust for someone, you must find a trustee to oversee it. This individual is responsible for a variety of tasks.

Managerial duties

Much of being a special needs trustee involves completing managerial tasks. According to AARP, these tasks include preparing taxes and reports, keeping records and investing funds. Still, trustees can outsource these duties to accountants or other professionals.

Disbursement duties

Special trustees also must closely review any disbursement requests they receive from beneficiaries and either approve or deny them. This is because the beneficiary cannot use trust disbursements on the same expenses his or her public benefits cover, as doing so can cause a person to lose government assistance.

Other duties

It is not uncommon for special needs trustees to interact with beneficiaries frequently. This puts trustees in a good position to know what services beneficiaries need to thrive. If a person requires medical attention, therapy or social services, the trustee usually helps him or her access necessary support.

Ultimately, because a special needs trustee must complete many different duties, it is important to find one who has sufficient time to devote to the role.