Resources - Glossary of Terms

Contact us to set up a Special Needs Trust
Contact us to set up a Special Needs Trust
 
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Vista Points Special Needs Trusts Resource Center

Administrative Fees
Expenses charged to the trust account for the trust administration services provided. Includes but is not limited to enrollment fees, closing fees, and tax preparation fees.

Beneficiary
The person with a disability for whom the trust is established.

Disability
An individual must have been determined to meet the federal definition of disability in order to qualify to establish a Special Needs Trust (SNT). Vista Points (VP) accepts written verification of disability by Social Security, Social Security Disability Insurance or Medicaid.

Distribution
Expenditure of trust funds for the sole benefit of the beneficiary. May also be referred to as a disbursement or check.

Fiduciary Duties
A trustee has a broad range of responsibilities and obligations to the beneficiary as established in the trust agreement as well as state law. In addition to general duties including but not limited to proper and prudent administration of the trust, other duties include recordkeeping, duty to inform, safekeeping of assets, and loyalty to the interests of the beneficiary. Administration and distributions from a Special Needs Trust (SNT) must also comply with the federal regulations for SNTs. Guidelines require distributions to be made only for the sole benefit of the beneficiary and must preserve the trust to maximize benefit to the beneficiary.

First Party Trust
A trust created by or for the beneficiary with the assets of the beneficiary. Must include a provision to reimburse Medicaid at termination to qualify as an exempt asset for Medicaid and Social Security. May also be called a self-settled trust.

Irrevocable
A trust that cannot be changed or terminated by the settler or other parties.

Means Tested
A public program is means tested if it requires that an applicant demonstrate financial need for the program. Any changes in financial status or assets of recipients must be reported to re-assess eligibility. Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, food stamps and many other financial assistance programs are means tested. Social Security Disability Insurance benefits are administered by the Social Security Administration and eligibility is not means tested. Social Security Disability Insurance is an insurance program for eligible individuals who qualify based on their work history.

Medicaid Payback
In order for a SNT to be excluded from counting as a disqualifying asset, the trust remainder at closing is subject to claim by Medicaid for any expenses paid for the beneficiary in their lifetime. If medical expenses have been paid by multiple states, all states that paid claims are eligible to make a claim on remainder funds. After Medicaid payback and other allowable expenses and fees are paid, if any assets remain they may be paid to remainder beneficiaries.

Public Benefits
Typically includes the Supplemental Security Income program operated by the Social Security Administration or Medicaid as administered by the single state agency responsible for the program.

Remainder Beneficiary
The person or entity designated to receive remainder funds remaining at closure of the trust account after all allowable expenses and fees are paid.

Special Needs Trust
A category of trust that, if properly structured and utilized consistent with federal requirements, is an exempt asset & will not jeopardize public benefits.

Trust
A legal arrangement whereby property is held by one party for the benefit of another.

Trust Account
The bank account established by the SNT to hold the assets of the Special Needs Trust.

Trust Agreement
The legal document that sets forth the terms under which the trust must operate. Titled and may be referred to as the Declaration of Trust.

Trustee
The person or agency that has legal authority and responsibility for administering the trust.