Planning Considerations

MSNT encourages people with disabilities and their families to ask questions associated with their planning efforts to identify a trustee that is the best fit for their situation.

MSNT special needs trust administration provides an affordable and accessible option for individuals and families with low to moderate incomes, relieves family burden through its expertise on Social Security and Medicaid rules for allowable distributions, documents the trust as an exempt asset for eligibility purposes and makes final distributions consistent with federal requirements.


However, during your planning, keep in mind that MSNT:

      • Only administers special needs trust under the unaltered terms of the trust agreements provided by MSNT as approved by the board of trustees
      • Does not offer Medicare Set Aside (MSA) accounts
      • Does not accept homes, real estate or other real property as sub-account assets
      • Follows a strict standard for distributions. Distributions are not approved that will have a negative impact to public benefits, including expenses for housing, room and board, utilities, food and cash to the beneficiary.
      • Does not represent the Beneficiaries in public benefit appeals. MSNT staff can provide additional information to support the Beneficiary or their legal representative to appeal decisions made by public benefit authorities.
      • Will not serve as employer for caregivers or pay caregivers directly from the sub-account.
      • Requires preapproval of the board of trustees to accept securities or other investment instruments as a sub-account asset
      • Alternatives or other solutions may be available; please contact MSNT staff to discuss.

Transfer Penalties for People Over the Age of 65

The enabling federal statute for pooled trusts does not have an age requirement; however, many state Medicaid programs have imposed a transfer penalty for individuals wanting to fund a pooled special needs trust over the age of 65.

MSNT is not able to calculate the transfer penalty and encourages the individual to reach out to their Medicaid program and ask about potential transfer penalties into a pooled special needs trust.

For Missouri residents only, there are some exceptions to the transfer penalty. MSNT encourages you to call and discuss with a Trust Specialist.

Inactive Trust Option

MSNT’s Inactive Trust is financial planning tool to assist Donors in ensuring protection of their loved one’s public benefits.

An Inactive Trust can be established with $200. After the enrollment fee is applied, there are no other fees, and MSNT holds the remaining $100 in an account in anticipation of a future deposit. Future deposits can include proceeds from life insurance, wills or retirement funds. Click the link below for more information on the difference between an active and inactive sub-account.

Termination of Trusts by Other Trustees

For a variety of reasons, a special needs trust may be established with one trustee but may need to be moved to another trustee at a later time. One common reason is that a corporate trustee may determine that the trust balance is too small, making it impractical to continue to administer.

Because MSNT administers smaller amounts in trust, it may be prudent of the current trustee to transfer the trust assets to MSNT for administration. One way to ensure the Beneficiary’s public benefits are not impacted by the termination of a corporate trustee’s special needs trust is to include transfer language at low-balance termination to transfer to MSNT. This can be accomplished with appropriate language in the trust document that provides authority to open the trust with MSNT.

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