When there is an important job to fill, common sense says to select somebody who has the skill set and qualifications to do the job well. It is for this reason that we visit a doctor for our medical care and not an attorney. Following this logic, it is important to select a trustee for a Medicaid special needs trust who is well equipped to fulfill the role of trustee. The first question, then, is what precisely is the job of a special needs trustee?
Generally speaking, a special needs trustee must be able to wisely use trust funds for the disabled person’s needs without jeopardizing public benefits, such as SSI or ALTCS. In addition to having the skills necessary to properly manage trust funds, a special needs trustee should be somebody in whom the person establishing the trust has confidence. In some instances, the person establishing the trust can act as trustee him or herself; and in other instances, the person designates a trusted family member to act as the trustee.
Where the person establishing the trust is unable to select somebody to act as trustee, he or she may decide to seek professional help. There are a variety of professional corporations that offer trustee services for Medicaid special needs trusts. Alternatively, there are pooled special needs trusts, which are managed by non-profit corporations. Either way, however, these options generally cost money, as for-hire trustees charge a fee for their services.
When selecting a trustee for a Medicaid special needs trust, confidence in the trustee is of paramount importance. Trustees who fail to act within the confines of special needs trust rules can cause the disabled beneficiary to lose his or her public benefits. While it is by no means necessary to hire a professional trustee, this is sometimes worth considering. Those establishing a Medicaid special needs trust can speak this over with their special needs trust attorney to come up with their best option.