Question

Is Using A Special Needs Trust For My Client’s Settlement Funds In Missouri The Right Choice?

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Answer

Establishing a Special Needs Trust (SNT) can be an important way to protect the financial future of a catastrophically injured or disabled client in Missouri. For minors and adults adjudicated as incompetent, the SNT is a device that avoids the time and expense of a conservatorship estate, while also usually allowing your client to remain eligible for Social Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid.

Additionally, the SNT allows your minor client to begin appreciating the benefits of the settlement immediately, rather than waiting for annuities to mature after the age of majority. Missouri Law specifically allows a court to approve the use of an SNT in lieu of a conservatorship estate.

Our firm can assist you and your client in establishing an SNT within your client’s personal injury lawsuit at the time of a minor or adult settlement approval hearing, or at another appropriate stage in the lawsuit. We can help identify the appropriate institutional trustee for your client to ensure that health, education, medical and support needs are met.

Our firm was involved in the establishment of the first SNT in Missouri after Congress passed the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993, which authorized catastrophically injured and disabled persons to use SNTs and still remain eligible for federal and state benefits. Since that time, we have helped many attorneys and their clients (in both state and federal courts) navigate this difficult terrain in the establishment, amendment, and administration of SNTs. We have participated in dozens of court approval hearings to establish SNTs and usually draft all final settlement orders and other documents for our referring attorneys and the court. We would be honored to answer any questions you or your client may have about SNTs.

Disclaimer: The answer is intended to be for informational purposes only. It should not be relied on as legal advice, nor construed as a form of attorney-client relationship.

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