A pooled supplemental needs trust (SNT) can be established and funded by a person with a disability for their own benefit, or by a third party such as a family member who would like to leave money to a loved one in a trust. To establish a pooled trust with NYSARC, the beneficiary of the trust or the donor creating the trust must complete and sign a Joinder Agreement.
If the beneficiary or donor lacks the appropriate capacity and is unable to sign the Joinder Agreement, this document must be signed by someone with the authority to establish and fund a trust on their behalf. In this article, we will review who can sign the document and who has the authority to fund the trust.
Who can establish a first party SNT?
As of December 2016 under the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act, people with disabilities with the appropriate capacity can establish a special needs trust for themselves. Prior to 2016, a person had to have someone else establish the trust on their behalf if they received funds that would put their benefits at risk.
Even though a person can now establish their own trust, there are many situations where someone else may need to set up the account on their behalf. Here are some examples of the appropriate parties who can sign the Joinder Agreement to establish a trust and the documentation requirements to include with the application:
- Beneficiary – may require documentation of capacity
- Power of Attorney (POA) – must provide documentation for approval
- Legal Guardian – must provide documentation for approval. Contact Guardian before starting a trust application.
- Parent/Grandparent – must specify relationship to the beneficiary on Joinder Agreement signature page
- Courts – A trust can also be established by Court Order. Must provide copy of court order.
Who can fund the trust?
The person funding the trust must have the legal authority to do so. Some examples include:
- Beneficiary – if beneficiary can sign, they can typically fund
- Parent or grandparent – can typically fund the trust, regardless of beneficiary’s age, depending on the source of funds
- Power of Attorney (POA) – if beneficiary has an agent under POA, they may also be authorized to establish and fund the trust
- Guardian of the property – can typically fund the trust, courts may limit powers of authority over property. Must provide copy of Letters of Guardianship for review.
- Representative Payee – can fund the trust with Social Security funds ONLY
- Courts – can direct a SNT or pooled trust to be funded
Review this flow chart for assistance in determining who can establish and fund the trust in each scenario. We encourage you to contact customer service with any questions before getting started with an application. Call (518) 439-8323 and we would be happy to guide you through the process.