Selecting the right person or entity to serve as the special needs trustee is an important decision. This individual will be responsible for ensuring that your trust terms are carried out and that the trust operates according to California law. You want to choose someone who has a complete understanding of government benefit limitations and requirements such as those for Social Security Income (SSI) and Medi-Cal (California Medicaid). This is because if the trust disbursements are not properly directed, they could be viewed as income to the beneficiary. If he or she is accepting benefits from one of these government programs, this “income” could be disqualifying. Having someone who understands how the trust and these types of programs intersect is crucial to making sure the beneficiary’s interests are protected.
In California, all trustees have specific duties and responsibilities. These include tasks such as making sure they do not have a conflict of interest with trust investments and making prudent financial choices. A special needs trust trustee must also make decisions about the trust with the beneficiaries’ unique requirements in mind. The idea is to manage the trust assets in a way which can help support the individual for as long as possible. The trustee needs to have a good grasp of investment and wealth management concepts or have access to a professional who can assist them with these matters. If possible, the trustee needs to keep the beneficiary informed of trust activity, and must maintain accurate records. A special needs trustee must also check on the beneficiary’s condition and understand what he or she needs to be comfortable.
Choosing the right trustee for your California special needs trust is critical. At the Law Offices of Alice A. Salvo, we have attorneys who have the experience you need to help you make informed decisions regarding you or your loved one’s special needs trust. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation.