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Ray, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 41028
Experience:  30 years in civil, probate, real estate, elder law
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I need to establish a legal Special Needs Trust Fund as a

Customer Question

I need to establish a legal Special Needs Trust Fund as a memorial to my just deceased wife, to support the rare incurable disease treatment, research, pain management and QOL costs of our 28 year old disabled daughter. We will move from greater Atlanta to greater San Francisco Bay for her health (climate) and research hopes in a few months. But the bulk of my wife’s former psychotherapy clients (as potential donors) live near Daytona Beach Florida. Can I expect to establish tax write-off charitable donation status as well as protecting her government disability support? What should it cost for legal aid and documentation?
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ray replied 10 months ago.

Hi and welcome to JA. Ray here to help you today.Please bear with me a few moments while I review your question and respond.

Expert:  Ray replied 10 months ago.

A Special Needs Trust is not a 501c charity here.Any gifts to it would not be tax deductible.But folks can certainly gift to it here it is just not deductible.You might want to consider a Master Pooled Trust.These are premade trusts, no lawyer needed, that she has a sub account with.The fees are much lower, no lawyer fees to set up, if it only involves money here it is a much cheaper alternate.

Expert:  Ray replied 10 months ago.


The Arc of Georgia Pooled Trust

Commonwealth Community Trust

Family Network on Disabilities of Florida, Inc.

Georgia Community Trust

The National Foundation for Special Needs Integrity, Inc.

Secured Futures

Shared Horizons

Expert:  Ray replied 10 months ago.

If you want her own SNT a $2,000 fee quote is about right.I would use a NAELA lawyer.National Academy of Elder Lawyers specialize in such shelters here.

You can find one here

I appreciate the chance to help you today.Let me know if you have more follow up.

Expert:  Ray replied 10 months ago.

Special needs pooled trusts are run by nonprofit organizations setup to expertly and efficiently administer a master special needs trust onbehalf of individual beneficiaries with disabilities. Assets are combined andinvested together; funds are spent onbeneficiaries in proportion to their share of the total amount.

No two pooled trusts are exactly alike. Each has its ownfees, menu of available services, and contracts under which it operates. Someoffer many options, complicated contracts, and complex fee schedules. Othersoffer a single agreement and an easy-to-understand fee schedule. Some areorganized to provide complete care of beneficiaries while others just managethe money in an appropriate manner.

Here are some advantages of pooled trusts:

  • The people managing thetrust and its assets will be knowledgeable about agency rules regarding incomeand resources and will be able to deal with any questions from the SSI orMedicaid programs.
  • The trust directorsusually are relatives of people with disabilities and are attuned to thatcommunity.
  • Even if you don’t havea lot of money to leave to your loved one, a pooled trust can give your lovedone the benefits of a special needs trust


  • Pooled trusts are onlyas good as the nonprofit that is managing it. Some may do a good job for awhile, but in the face of financial problems or management changes, may end updoing a terrible job or even going out of business altogether.
  • Some pooled trusts distributeassets only at certain times of the month. This can be a problem for abeneficiary who may need distributions more frequently.
  • Pooled trusts can bevery expensive. Find out exactly how much a pooled trust charges before youjoin. Generally, there is a one-time setup fee that can run from a few hundreddollars to several thousand dollars. Plus, there is an annual fee—based on apercentage of the assets that are put into the trust—that can be severalthousand dollars a year. If you’re only putting a modest amount of assets intothe trust, the fees of the pooled trust can seriously deplete these assets. Incontrast, a friend or family member may not charge anything to serve as thetrustee of an individual trust.
  • Pooled trust areinflexible. Once the assets are in the pooled trust, it is difficult if notimpossible to move the assets to another trust. Your beneficiary is then stuckwith this pooled trust even if the trustee does not do a good job.
  • Many pooled trusts willnot agree to own real estate or authorize other nontraditional investments. Ifyour inheritance will include these types of investments, an individual specialneeds trust would serve you better.
Expert:  Ray replied 10 months ago.

Consider a Master Pooled Trust here.

If you can positive rate 5 stars when we are done it is always much appreciated.