President Barack Obama is currently undertaking his final duties as his second term as President of the United States comes to an end. He recently signed a bill that may affect many people with special needs in California and throughout the nation. The bill actually addressed several issues, one of which pertains to special needs trusts.
Previously, federal law did not differentiate between those with physical disabilities and those who are mentally challenged with regard to creating trusts to save money. In the past, the only way for a person with special needs to create such a trust was if a parent, legal guardian, grandparent or the court acted on that person’s behalf. Most people inside and outside government circles recognized the injustice this created with regard to those with special needs who are not mentally incapacitated in any way.
The Special Needs Trust Fairness Act was unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate. It also passed through the House of Representatives, but it was returned to the Senate because of several changes the House had made to the bill. It made its way back through the system as part of the 21st Century Cures Act and was signed into law by the president on a recent Tuesday.
Effective immediately, those in California and beyond with special needs that do not include mental incapacitation are able to create their own trusts. Many consider this a positive move toward helping physically challenged persons to provide for their own care. Anyone with questions regarding the process by which a special needs trusts can be created may seek answers by contacting an estate administration attorney.
Source: disabilityscoop.com, “New Law Expands Access To Special Needs Trusts“, Michelle Diament, Dec. 16, 2016