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Lawmakers propose change to special needs trust laws

People with disabilities already have a more challenging time than the average American. However, there are some laws that unintentionally make things more difficult for disabled individuals in Maryland and in other states. One example of this is the federal law regulating special needs trust accounts for disabled people. Now lawmakers from both major political parties are pushing for a bill that would address some of the problems.

The current federal law does not allow disabled individuals to create special needs trusts for themselves. Federal law, as it is written now, only allows legal guardians, parents and grandparents of disabled people to create special needs trusts for their disabled children and grandchildren. Lawmakers from both parties are working together to support a change in the law, which would allow disabled people to create these trust accounts for themselves.

Two lawmakers, one from each major political party, recently introduced their version of the bill to the House. A bipartisan group of four lawmakers introduced the Senate version of the bill as well. There are a variety of groups also lending their support to the bill, including the Academy of Special Needs Planners and the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys.

Disabled persons in Maryland looking to create disabled needs trust accounts will want to pay close attention to the latest developments in the debate regarding the potential new law. Decisions made by lawmakers may have a significant effect on disabled people's access to this important estate-planning tool. However, even if the current laws are ultimately not changed, it may still be possible for disabled individuals to obtain a special needs trust through the current available avenues.

Source: LifeHealthPro, Democrats, Republicans join to fix trust glitch, Allison Bell, Nov. 12, 2013

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  • Bar Association Of Frederick County, Maryland
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