Special Needs Trusts

Responsible care. Locally administered. Peace of mind.


Many people face the challenge of supporting a child or relative with a disability. One of the greatest areas of concern is how to fund the disabled individual’s lifetime needs after the parents or guardians are deceased, as a direct inheritance may cause problems with obtaining critical benefits.

A special needs trust connects you with the resources you need to feel independent. Primarily, trusts allow the beneficiary to keep or qualify for government benefits such as Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and still have access to the trust assets. The trust beneficiary receives funds through the trustee who distributes them according to the trust document. A special needs trust helps people with disabilities beyond what government assistance can provide—it supplements and enriches quality of life.

A special needs trust can also play an important role in estate planning. If you have a loved one with a disability, you can fund the trust upon your death with either personal assets or insurance benefits. Your assets can then be transferred to the beneficiary without risking the loss of their government benefits.

Southeastern Trust Company is here on your behalf. We connect you with the resources you need for independence while not leaving you on your own. We promise our time and availability through all administrative operations that position you for a vibrant future. To help you in learning whether a special needs trust would be right for you, consider these three factors.

Whether a family member creates a trust or it is court-ordered, Southeastern Trust Company can help you manage the challenge of supporting a loved one.

  • Individual Self-Settled Trust (d4a Trust)
  • Third Party Trust

Who will care for my relative when I’m gone?

This is a familiar question for the caregivers of Americans with a disability, representing approximately 20% of the population. Providing continued care for physical or psychological disabilities can be complex and requires significant financing. Alongside daily challenges, funding lifetime needs is a major concern among the special needs community while also maintaining access to critical government benefits.

We understand that every person has a story and unique needs. Even more, we understand the personal importance of securing a trust for you or your loved one that lasts a lifetime. By choosing Southeastern Trust, you are not choosing a typical trustee.

A Special Needs Trust:

Meets present and future cash flow needs through careful management of trust assets.

Allows you to maintain, receive, and supplement government benefits including Medicaid or SSI.

Uses trust assets to enhance the beneficiary’s quality of life by providing for education, custom living arrangements, and recreation, managed by a trusted team member.

Are not FDIC or any other Government Agency insured. Are not Bank guaranteed. May lose value.

Special Needs Trust FAQ’s

What is a Special Needs Trust?
A special needs trust is an irrevocable trust established for the benefit of a disabled person. The disability can be physical or psychological. The disabled person is the beneficiary of the trust and the trustee distributes funds, according to the trust document, from the trust for the benefit of the beneficiary. A special needs trust enables the beneficiary to enhance their quality of life and provides resources beyond what governmental assistance provides.
Why create a Special Needs Trust?
Special needs trusts are created for many reasons. The primary reason is to allow the beneficiary to maintain or establish government assistance benefits while still having access to the trust assets. Estate planning is another reason to establish a special needs trust. You can set the trust up to fund at your death with your assets or with insurance benefits. This allows your assets to be transferred to a disabled person without risking the loss of their government benefits.
When do you create a Special Needs Trust?
A special needs trust can be created with the disabled person’s own accumulated assets or when there is a personal injury lawsuit and the disabled beneficiary receives a settlement. The settlement funds can be made payable to the special needs trust for the benefit of the injured person. This type of trust is called a First Party Self Settled Special Needs Trust. A special needs trust can also be created as part of your estate planning. This allows you to create the trust for a loved one at your death by transferring your assets or life insurance proceeds to the trust at death. This type of trust is called a Third Party Special Needs Trust.
How can Southeastern Trust Company help?
Special needs trusts require a special trustee. We are an experienced and compassionate trustee who works with families to help ease the burdens associated with caring for someone who has special needs . We have extensive experience in building or renovating homes to accommodate accessibility needs. We understand that parents of children with special needs have circumstances that require access to a network of providers who are trained to assist families overcome “red tape” and obstacles. Our work brings many children into our care and we take that very seriously. We also work with adult beneficiaries to help them maintain as much independence as possible while dealing with a disability. Our knowledgeable staff has over 120 years of combined trust experience as we help families and individuals navigate the complex rules associated with government benefits and eligibility guidelines.
Are not FDIC or any other Government Agency insured. Are not Bank guaranteed. May lose value.

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