Special Needs Trust in Tennessee

17 March 2010 Categories: All Blogs, Estate Planning

Many people with a family member that has special needs might have heard the term before, but may not know what a Special Needs Trust is and what it does.

A Special Needs Trust (sometimes called a supplemental needs trust) is a special estate planning document that is used for the sole purpose of providing benefits to a person with special needs without interfering with any governmental benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid, Medicare, and other governmental programs.

The Special Needs Trust can be drafted within a will or as a stand-alone document. Special Needs Trusts became recognized by the government in 1993, with Congress amended the Omnibus Budget and Reconciliation Act (OBRA-93) to authorize the use of these trusts for the benefit of people under the age of 65 and meet the disability requirements of the Social Security standards. This authorization allows the assets in the trust to be used in addition to any governmental benefits in order to increase the quality of life of your family member.


A trust, specifically a special needs trust, has many other protections built in such as being judgment proof in case of a lawsuit against your family or the family member. It also allocates the money specifically for the care of the person with special needs, and therefore cannot be obtained for any other purposes.

You should contact a Tennessee Attorney to discuss your specific needs.

Michael McNulty, managing partner of McNulty & Associates will be co-hosting a seminar titled “Long Term Planning for Your Family Member with a Disability” on April 20th in the Community Services Building in Franklin. http://www.thearcofwilliamsoncounty.org/Events.html. Michael will be discussing special needs trusts as well as other planning tools that will ensure your family member will be cared for. This event is sponsored by the Arc of Williamson County. Please call Sharon at 615-790-5815 ext. 3# for more information on this event.

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