Estate Planning and Business Law

A Special Needs Trust Can Now Be Designated as an Option Beneficiary

Effective January 1, 2017, Defined Benefit Program members and Cash Balance Benefit Program participants may designate a special needs trust or supplemental needs trust, as an option or annuity beneficiary to provide an ongoing benefit to a disabled individual.

Assembly Bill 1875 also allows participants to change an existing option or annuity beneficiary to a special needs trust without penalty, if the trust’s beneficiary is the same as the previously named option or annuity beneficiary.

Previously, option beneficiaries could only be a person or persons. If members or participants wished to provide a lifetime benefit to a disabled person, they could not do so without jeopardizing that individual’s eligibility for other public benefits.

A special needs trust shields the assets and income of disabled individuals and protects their eligibility for other public benefits and services.

Ivette M. Santaella, partner at the law firm of Blackwell, Santaella & Jahangiri, LLP, located in the tri-valley areas of San Ramon, Danville and Dublin, can assist you with questions on Special Needs Planning and Special Needs Trusts.

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