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Individuals can settle their own special needs trust with new law

Aug 8, 2017 | Special Needs Trusts

Recent changes in legislation now allow disabled individuals more freedom to spend and save money without jeopardizing their Medicaid. A person in Florida can now choose to settle his or her own first party special needs trust without the aid of a representative. A recent news article gives some background information about special needs trusts and some information about the new change in the law. 

A special needs trust (SNT) is a trust set up to allow a disabled person to save money and hold assets, and continue to receive Medicaid and other government assistance. There are several types of special needs trusts, including first party, third party and pooled trusts. Each type of SNT has its own set of guidelines and attributes.

The first party SNT allows an individual to save his or her own money in the trust. Previously, the guidelines stated that the trust must be established by the disabled beneficiary’s parent, grandparent, legal guardian or a court, and did not allow for disabled persons who are mentally competent to handle their own affairs. The law change, effective January 1, 2017, now allows individuals to create their own self-settled trusts. 

The new law is an empowering change for disabled individuals who now no longer have to rely on another person or undergo a court proceeding to be able to handle their own financial affairs through a An Empowering Change in Legislation for Disabled Individualsspecial needs trust. A disabled person in Florida who is curious about how to create their own SNT to protect their assets can choose to consult an attorney without having an additional representative. A special needs trust attorney will have the knowledge and experience to help make a properly drafted document that will adhere to current law.

Source:, “An Empowering Change in Legislation for Disabled Individuals“, Matthew J. Frerichs and Sarah J. Khoury, July 25, 2017