What Goes Into A Florida Special Needs Trust?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

Full Bio →

Written by

UPDATED: Jul 15, 2021

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about legal topics and insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything legal and insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by experts.

If you’re thinking about creating a special needs trust, it’s important to know how this unique estate planning tool works – including what must be done to comply with both federal and state law, how it can be funded and how the funds can be spent.

Complying with federal and Florida State law

Sarah E. Peart, an attorney from Tampa Florida whose practice focuses mainly in the areas of wills, trusts, estate planning and real estate law, says that there are several crucial clauses that must be in a special needs trust in order for it to comply with both state and federal laws. She explained, “[T]here must be a direct statement that the beneficiary has no ability to access the income or principle of the trust or even to compel the trustee to act and that they can have no control over the assets whatsoever for it to remain exempt. The special needs trust must also explicitly mandate that the state will be reimbursed with the remaining assets upon the death of the beneficiary.”

Funding a special needs trust

How does someone determine how much money to put into a special needs trust? Peart says, “That’s completely dependent on the actual person that it will benefit, what their disability is, how long their lifespan is expected to be and the quality of life to which they’ve become accustomed. For example, many parents want their child to have the same quality of life that they were accustomed to when the parent was alive. So it really is very, very personal and individual to each beneficiary.”

However, Peart says that there are limitations. For example, she told us that the grantor has to put the money directly into the special needs trust for the benefit of the beneficiary or there’s no exemption. So, someone cannot simply give money to a disabled relative and have them put it directly into a special needs trust.

Common expenditures of a special needs trust

Special needs trusts are specifically used for supplemental needs – meaning needs that are not provided for by Medicaid or other public benefits. Peart says that, “Common expenditures are for transportation, recreation, education and companionship. Some people use it for additional home nursing care or private rooms in nursing homes or hospitals. They can be used for anything that’s above and beyond the basic needs of an individual which are already being provided. The trustee has discretion to decide what will be considered a supplemental need. Basic medical assistance will be provided by other means and should not be paid for by the special needs trust.”

If you believe a special needs trust might be right for your situation, contact an experienced Florida trusts attorney to evaluate your options. Consultations are free, without obligation and are strictly confidential.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption