The principal purpose of a third-party created and funded SNT is to provide an inheritance for the special needs child without risking the loss of important government benefits such as SSI, Medicaid, etc. Consequently, it is important that grandparents and other relatives (including the siblings of the special needs child) not leave an inheritance outright to a special needs loved one.
Fortunately a parent’s stand alone inter-vivos third-party created and funded SNT can be structured to receive gifts, bequests, and inheritances from grandparents (and other relatives/friends) for the benefit of the special needs child. This avoids the grandparents (or other relatives/friends) having to prepare a separate third-party created and funded SNT.
There Are Many Ways A Special Needs Child Can Receive An Outright Inheritance and Lose Means-Tested Government Benefits. A special needs child can receive an outright inheritance in indirect ways. For example, if the grandparent’s will leaves his or her estate to “my descendants, by right of representation,” and the parent of the special needs child predeceases the grandparent, actually or presumptively under the requirement for survival (typically 120 hours (or 90 days for GST tax purposes)), a portion of the deceased parent’s share of the grandparent’s estate will pass outright to special needs child, and possibly disqualify the child from receiving certain government benefits.
Another way, that is not so obvious for a special needs child to receive an outright inheritance, is when an unmarried adult sibling dies without children and leaves his or her estate to his or her “heirs” and the decedent’s parents are also deceased. In such instance, the decedent’s special needs sibling (as an heir of the decedent) will receive an inheritance.