15 Dec Congress Passes the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act
The Special Needs Trust Fairness Act, a bill that allows people with disabilities to create their own first-party special needs trusts without having to rely on others, was signed into law by President Obama on December 13, 2016.
The Fairness Act corrects a decades-old error in federal law that presumes that all persons with disabilities lack the mental capacity to handle their own affairs. Prior to this law, if a person with special needs wanted to place their own property or money into a special needs trust in order to preserve it and maintain access to government benefits, they had to have a parent, grandparent, guardian or court create the trust for them. This process made it unnecessarily difficult for people with few close relatives or limited access to the courts to preserve their assets.
The Special Needs Trust Fairness Act allows a person with special needs to create a special needs trust on her own, without having to rely on family members.