Special Needs Trusts
A special needs trust is a discretionary trust meant for the benefit of a disabled person, with the goal of maintaining whatever governmental benefits are available to the disabled person. Usually, a special needs trust will prohibit direct distributions to the beneficiary, and require the trustee to purchase goods and services for the benefit of the beneficiary.
One of the lesser-known issues in Medicaid or MassHealth planning is that assets can be transferred to special needs trusts even after a nursing home stay has begun. Thus, the estate plan of any family which has a disabled child needs to have the flexibility to preserve assets for the child via a special needs trust and a durable power of attorney which allows the funding of the trust.