Special Needs Alliance Article: Your Special Needs Trust (“SNT”) Defined

You have a special needs trust— or you have been designated as the trustee of a special needs trust— or your child has a special needs trust. What is a trust? What is a trustee? What is a beneficiary? What are all these terms you’ve never used before even though your first language is English? This article provides you with an overview of the more common terms found in your special needs trust.

What is a Trust?

A trust is a legal arrangement in which a person or a financial institution, called the trustee, holds and manages assets for the beneficiary (see definition below). The trust document explains the trustee’s authority, how the trust is to benefit the beneficiary, and how and when the trust is to terminate. There are many types of trusts, but this article is focusing on a specific type of trust—a special needs trust.

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