Back in December of 2016, we shared the wonderful news of President Obama signing the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act into law. When announced, New York State was out of compliance with this new federal law.
On May 22, 2017, New York issued a general information system (GIS 17 MA/08) allowing mentally component individuals with disabilities, under the age of 65 to establish their own Special Needs Trust.
Prior to passing the Act, First Party Special Needs Trusts could only be established by the disabled individual’s parent, grandparent, legal guardian, or a Court. The individual could not create his/her own Special Needs Trust. Since 1993, this was a gross injustice to those with disabilities who wanted to set up their own Special Needs Trust. As past president of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) – KUDOS to NAELA for championing this effort with a special thank you to my colleagues, Michael Amoruso and Amos Goodall.
A Special Needs Trust is an important planning tool for those with disabilities who receive money outright, including from an inheritance, personal injury settlement or child support. With this type of trust, the individual can maintain their eligibility for crucial government benefits, such as Medicaid and SSI, while protecting these monies to supplement their quality of life.
If you or someone you know has questions about Special Needs Trusts or this new law, please be sure to contact our law firm for further information.
Vincent J. Russo
Russo Law Group, P.C.
100 Quentin Roosevelt Blvd., Suite 102
Garden City, NY 11530