Tennessee Special Needs Trust Information

special needs trust is established to prevent people from losing benefits from certain government programs after receiving a settlement. An influx of wealth can make one ineligible for benefits from Supplementary Security Income (SSI), Veterans Aid and Attendance, Medicaid, and government housing. A special needs trust supplements but does not replace, these benefits by paying for non-covered services or equipment. Below are the applicable laws to establishing a special needs trust in Tennessee.

Federal Law

U.S. Code Section 1396p.(d)(4)(A).
(4) This subsection shall not apply to any of the following trusts:
(A) A trust containing the assets of an individual under age 65 who is disabled (as defined in section 1382c(a)(3) of this title) and which is established for the benefit of such individual by the individual, a parent, grandparent, legal guardian of the individual, or a court if the State will receive all amounts remaining in the trust upon the death of such individual up to an amount equal to the total medical assistance paid on behalf of the individual under a State plan under this subchapter. Full text

Tennessee Law

TN Code § 35-15-505 (2014)

(a) Whether or not the terms of a trust contain a spendthrift provision, the following rules apply:

(3) For the purposes of this section, “irrevocable special needs trust” means an irrevocable trust established for the benefit of one or more disabled persons, which includes, but is not limited to, any individual who is disabled pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1382c(a), as well as any individual who is disabled pursuant to any similar federal, state or other jurisdictional law or regulation, or has a condition that is substantially equivalent to one that qualifies them to be so disabled in accordance with any of the above even if not officially found to be so disabled by a governmental body if one of the purposes of the trust, expressed in the trust instrument or implied from the trust instrument, is to allow the disabled person to qualify or continue to qualify for public, charitable or private benefits that might otherwise be available to the disabled person. The existence of one or more nondisabled remainder beneficiaries of the trust shall not disqualify it as an irrevocable special needs trust for the purposes of this section;

(4) No creditor or assignee of the settlor of an irrevocable special needs trust, as defined in subdivision (a)(3), may reach or compel distributions from such special needs trust, to or for the benefit of the settlor of such special needs trust, or otherwise, regardless of whether or not such irrevocable special needs trust complies with the provisions of, and irrespective of the requirements of, chapter 16 of this title; and

(5) Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, neither a creditor nor any other person shall have any claim or cause of action against the trustee or other fiduciary, or an advisor of an irrevocable special needs trust . . . TN Code § 35-15-505 (2016).