How pooled special needs trusts work

On Behalf of | Jul 19, 2023 | Trusts

If you are the parent of a special needs individual in Indiana, you probably wonder how your child will get along after your death. Special needs individuals often require specialized care throughout their lives, so meeting your child’s needs is essential. Many people turned to pooled special needs trusts to accomplish this.

What is a pooled special needs trust?

Pooled special needs trusts (PSNT) use a trusted organization to hold a disabled individual’s assets that can be used by the beneficiary as needed to pay for essentials. The most significant advantage of a PSNT is that the assets do not figure into public assistance eligibility, meaning the disabled person can qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, Medicaid and other programs. Pooled special needs trusts are easier to establish than traditional ones, as non-profit organizations usually manage them.

These trusts work similarly to a checking account as a financial organization will pool all funds from various depositors. Every contributing account hold has a separate sub-account with an available funds balance. The funds are invested or distributed according to the trust terms. Assets may be used for:

  • Living expenses
  • Medical expenses
  • Education or vocational schooling
  • Personal needs
  • Legal expenses
  • Entertainment

Other considerations for disabled heirs

A PSNT is only one component of estate planning you should consider if you have a disabled child. Depending on the severity of your child’s disability, you may also want to establish a durable power of attorney for health care and financial needs to help or direct your child’s decisions.

The agent for financial matters may be the primary liaison for the PSNT and direct the payment of expenses if needed. As with other estate documents, you can modify revocable trusts and other estate documents if your wishes or your child’s needs change.