According to the National Organization on Disability, an estimated one in five US adults and children suffers from a physical or intellectual disability or medical complication that requires special accommodations for everyday living. A Special Needs Trust is a legal and financial vehicle that enables families to provide for the unique needs of their loved one. In an effort to avoid compromising their eligibility for public assistance, the Trust does not provide income to beneficiaries. Instead, the Trust is designed to directly fund personal and medical care, physical therapy, education, or even travel and recreational activity on behalf of the individual.
What is the Unique Assets Team?
As a provider of technology and services to wealth management firms and trust companies, SS&C Innovest understands our work includes supporting the people who depend on our clients to enjoy a better quality of life. In fact, our Unique Assets team is vividly reminded of this every day as one of our dedicated lines of business assists in the administration of Special Needs Trusts. This type of service involves very hands-on, direct engagement in providing supportive living environments for special needs clients.
Understanding the Special Needs Trust
One of the most common uses of a Special Needs Trust is to pay for remodeling a home to accommodate the resident’s requirements. Trustees and advisors rely on the Unique Assets team to help with these projects, not just the accounting and compliance paperwork. They look to us to know ADA-qualified contractors across the country who have experience in making special needs improvements to homes. More than that, they count on the team to understand what will meet ADA requirements and, more importantly, what will meet the individual’s actual necessities.
In one case, a trust client required help supporting a family that was installing a pool for a special needs child. It seemed like a straightforward project– finding a contractor to install a pool with a deck. In daily conversations with the family, however, we realized the child would need a lift to get into and out of the pool. And, if she needed a lift, she also needed a special kind of harness that not only fit her as a child but would continue to support her as she got older. Our team found a contractor specializing in pool lift harnesses for special needs children. Ultimately, we were involved in every aspect of this project, which had a consequential impact on the quality of this child’s life.
Honored to support independence and a greater quality of life
Supporting our clients with Special Needs Trust is a privilege. Other examples include Trusts used to acquire new homes, which may have to be retrofitted to accommodate an individual. That may mean ensuring the flooring is wheelchair-ready, installing ramps for a person using a walker, putting in a lift, or finding a contractor with experience building a roll-in shower. In one instance, we had to ensure the home had adequate and properly functioning electricity to ensure that an individual’s ventilator could operate continuously.
We are fortunate to have a network of project managers who are skilled in this type of work, sensitive to families’ concerns, and able to communicate with them clearly and effectively. And, even though our clients are the trust officers and advisors who manage the Trusts, in the majority of these cases, we work directly with the beneficiary’s caregiver, typically a family member. We are honored to act as a direct extension of our client’s business. Ultimately, we know what’s important about our work: helping someone with special needs enjoy greater independence and a higher quality of life.
For a deeper dive into Special Needs Trusts and how the SS&C Unique Assets team supports trustees and advisors, download our whitepaper, Special Needs Trust: How To Simplify Operations.
SS&C Innovest provides customized outsourcing solutions and Managed Services. Scores of organizations across the country, from community banks to national organizations, empower SS&C Innovest to manage these services on behalf of their clients. To learn more about how SS&C Innovest can support your firm’s needs, visit our website, call (800) 727-0605, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.