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What to look for in a special needs trustee

On Behalf of | May 21, 2024 | Estate Planning

When you set up a special needs trust, you are planning for the long-term financial security and well-being of a loved one with disabilities. As such, the approach of the trustee whom you appoint to manage the trust should resonate with your goal and plans for its beneficiary.

Choosing a trustee for your special needs trust is an integral process in the safeguarding of your loved one’s future, as they will be responsible for administering funds and making sure that the beneficiary’s needs are met in accordance with your wishes and the trust’s guidelines.


The trustee should be someone with unquestionable integrity and a proven track record of responsibly managing finances. They must adhere to ethical standards and act in the best interests of the beneficiary at all times. Transparency in decision-making and communication is essential so that the trustee keeps you informed about the trust’s financial status and any significant developments. They should also be capable of handling complex financial matters and making sound investment decisions to preserve and grow the trust’s assets over time.

Understanding of legal issues

A special needs trust is meant to provide financial support and security for a beneficiary with disabilities while preserving their eligibility for government benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Therefore, an understanding of legal issues pertaining to trusts, government benefit programs and disability law is crucial for the trustee to effectively manage the trust in accordance with relevant regulations and statutes.

Availability and compassion

Your choice of trustee should have the well-being of the beneficiary at the forefront of their priorities. They should be readily available to address the beneficiary’s needs and concerns with compassion and empathy. This includes being accessible for discussions about the beneficiary’s evolving requirements, whether related to healthcare, living arrangements or other essential aspects of their life. The trustee should be sensitive to the unique challenges and experiences faced by individuals with disabilities, fostering a supportive and understanding relationship that ensures the beneficiary feels valued and cared for.

Legal guidance can be invaluable in ironing out any uncertainties surrounding the establishment and administration of a special needs trust. Don’t hesitate to seek personalized feedback concerning the creation of your trust and the appointment of a trustee accordingly.