A How-To Manual for Those Administering Special Needs Trusts


Barbara Jackins, Richard S. Blank, Ken W. Shulman, Peter M. Macy and Harriet H. Onello. Special Needs Trust Administration Manual: A Guide for Trustees. New York, N.Y.: iUniverse, 2004. 126 pages.

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Special needs trusts enhance an individual's quality of life while allowing government benefits like Medicaid to continue. But many trustees of such trusts are laypersons who may never have managed a trust before. Clients about to take on the job of trustee often ask their attorney, "Is there something I can read?"

The authors of this manual wrote it so that the answer could be, "Yes!"

The authors are five Massachusetts attorneys with extensive experience in creating and administering special needs trusts. Directed at anyone who is administering or considering administering such a trust -- either layperson or professional -- Special Needs Trust Administration Manual explains in an uncomplicated, user-friendly way the rules that govern special needs trusts and how those rules relate to the many complicated government programs that assist people with disabilities.

The manual covers the subject from A to Z, including general trust accounting rules, descriptions of public benefit programs, and instructions on making distributions from such trusts. Mistakes in this field can be very costly to the beneficiaries, potentially involving the loss of important coverage from public benefits programs and the requirement to pay back past benefits.

Because the authors are Massachusetts attorneys, the book explains how federal law and regulations are applied in that state. While the book is of value to readers in any state, the authors note that laws in other states may differ, particularly with respect to Medicaid, and that local attorneys should be consulted. Article Last Modified: 10/23/2006